Music and more draws crowds at Bavarian Blast

By Fritz Busch

Journal Staff Writer

NEW ULM – Bavarian Blast added a new wrinkle Saturday with beer barrel racing that lasted nearly an hour on the midway.

Male and female competitors from New Ulm, Jordan, Albert Lea, and as far away as Omaha took part in the event that involved pushing and guiding beer barrels through a maze of straw bales.

A two-man team from Jordan won the championship round over a team from Albert Lea. Local competitors included Ted and Jace Marti of August Schell Brewery. They reached the semifinals.

Earlier in the day, Jim Paquette of Prior Lake, the great nephew of the late “Whoopie” John Wilfahrt, won the sauerkraut eating contest that included more than 20 male and female competitors.

Wiener dog racing included five dogs from as far away as Texas.

A good-sized crowd, including a number of people from other parts of Minnesota, Omaha and even as far away as Oregon listened to polka music and participated in or watched racing events on the midway.

Polka enthusiasts closer to home included Pastor Roger E. Woller, Chaplain at The Lutheran Home, Cedar Haven in Belle Plaine, formerly at St. John’s Church, Fairfax.

“I like the music,” Woller said. His wife Jalaine said she enjoyed the Bavarian Blast music and craft fair in the New Ulm Civic Center.

Squeezebox with Mollie B and her band filled the August Schell tent with dancers and polka fans. The band, which appears on RFD TV, will perform Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 & 25 at the Norwood-Young America Stiftungfest.

Grammy-nominated musician and producer Alex Meixner, who began playing at age six with his two sisters and father in an ethnic folk ensemble, displayed his unique musical mix in the August Schell Tent. He’ll perform 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday and is part of the 7 p.m. grand finale along with Alpensterne and the Concord Singers in the same tent.

Sunday Bavarian Blast events include a New Ulm Municipal Band concert from 11 a.m. to noon, parade from 12:30 to 2 p.m. August Schell tent bands are Alpensterne from 2 to 4 p.m., the Concord Singers from 4 to 5 p.m., the Alex Meixner Band, 5 to 7 p.m. and a grand finale with all three bands at 7 p.m.

Bands in the KNUJ Radio Polka Hall are Schell’s Hobo Band from 11 a.m. to noon, the Larry Olsen Band 2 to 3:30 p.m., Kris & the Riverbend Dutchmen from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and the Larry Olsen Band from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Sunday Kinderfest events include The Flemming Fold on the West Stage from 2 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. and Woody on the East Stage from 3 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

The Kissner Promotions Craft Fair continues 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the New Ulm Civic Center.

Future Bavarian Blast dates are July 18 to 20, 2014. For more information, visit

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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