NEW ULM - In 2006 when the Heritagefest festival was officially pronounced dead, a small group of New Ulmites rose to the occasion, proclaiming that while Heritagefest might have died, the summer festival spirit was very much alive.
So, working against huge odds, this dedicated band of citizens managed to get a festival together by the time the third weekend of July rolled around, and it's been growing ever since.
The fourth edition of Bavarian Blast will be unveiled to the public starting, next Friday, July 17 for the traditional weekend run. And, the parade that was a big part of Heritagefest, has been retained, and it will start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. It follows the same route that the Heritagefest parade covered.
Fest-goers raise a glass for a toast during a past Bavarian Blast.
While the Blast started next to German Park in 2006 in order to get more of the downtown involved, the festival moved out to the Brown County Fairgrounds last year where there is more control for a paid-attendance event.
Heritagefest fans will find that the Blast continues to provide a range of music reminiscent of the long-running, two-weekend Heritagefest festival of yore. And, for those who want something different there will be an arts and crafts show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Bands from across "the pond" include the Alpensterne which features the elongated Alpine horn, yodeling as well as sing-a-longs mixed in with a few surprises.
There also is the Schwabenmusikanten band which is a brass ensemble with different types of horns. Then, there is the Original Colbitzer Muskanten Germany band. All three will be performing all three days.
From this side of "the pond," visitors will be hearing the music of some very good local bands, like the Bockfest Boys, the Peter and Paul Wendinger band, the Schell's Hobo Band and the New Ulm Municipal Band.
Add to that Leon Olson (performing Saturday night in the Youth Coliseum), the Country Polkateers, the Sleepy Eye Concertina club, Miss. Valley Dutchmen, Karl Hartwich, Ridgeland Dutchmen, the Rockin' Hollywoods, and Button Box America, and you have quite a schedule of entertainment during the weekend event.
(The above groups, with the exception of Leon Olson, will be performing either on the NU-Telecom Rock/Polka Stage or in the August Schell Bavarian Tent.)
Then, add to that Tubamania which will take place in the Youth Coliseum Sunday afternoon for an hour, starting at 3:30 p.m., and you have an entertainment-packed weekend. (If fitness is your game, the festival has just the thing for you - a 2-mile and 10K "Fun Run" that starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.)
By the way, New Ulm's own Concord Singers are the final act of the 2009 Bavarian Blast, singing from 8-to-9 p.m. in the August Schell Bavarian Tent.
Ron Larsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org