Maybe you’re a tourist planning on visiting New Ulm, Minnesota (excellent idea by the way). Maybe you just moved here. Maybe New Ulm is your hometown but you’ve never considered going. Or maybe you live under a rock and haven’t heard about New Ulm’s biggest summer festival. Or maybe you’ve been asking yourself “so what exactly is Bavarian Blast?”. If any of these circumstances apply to you, allow us to explain what exactly is Bavarian Blast.
Bavarian Blast is a 4-day weekend event that runs every summer in New Ulm, Minnesota. It’s a German music festival that celebrates New Ulm’s German heritage and traditions while providing a joyful summer event for participants of every age and ethnic background. Music is a big part of the blast and over 20 bands will be performing live throughout the weekend. There are two different music areas on site with multiple stages: the KNUJ Polka Hall and the Schell’s Tent. Bavarian Blast, formerly called Heritagefest, has been growing more popular every year and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The origins of Bavarian Blast are fascinating as this New Ulm festival has gone by many names throughout the decades. Shortly after New Ulm acquired is own radio station, KNUJ, community members wanted to dive deeper into the roots of German music, and so “Polka Days” was celebrated during the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s, featuring a parade going down Minnesota Street. After short hiatus, “Polka Days” was reborn as “Heritagefest”. The event moved to the fairgrounds and slowly evolved to the fun event that we know and love today.
Bavarian Blast starts strong on Thursday night with some great live entertainment, typically tribute and cover bands of your favorite musical acts. The Thursday evening event was originally added onto the weekend festival as more of a party-for-the-locals, but it has gotten to be so well attended that it is now considered officially part of Bavarian Blast, turning this popular festival from a 3-day event into a 4-day party. Friday kicks off at 11:00 A.M. The music is primarily polka and folk music but there is plenty of modern influence laced into tradition melodies. The day ends with a tribute band for you to rock out to long into the night.
Saturday is an exciting day with lots to see and do! The morning starts early with the Bavarian Blast 5K/10K walk and run. The perfect way to get some exercise while touring the city! Bands play while various activities take place throughout the day. Bring your furry friend and watch the Dachshund Dog Races, grab a partner and participate in the Barrel Race competition, challenge your friends at the sauerkraut eating contest, or test your strength at the stein holding contest. These events are as fun to participate in as they are to watch!
The music and good time continue through Sunday, making for an ideal weekend. Grab some breakfast and a bloody mary before heading to the big tent for the Sunday Morning Polka Service. This popular event began a few years ago with nationally-known musician Molly B. leading the service – she’ll leave you breathless with her rendition of Ave Maria! New Ulm’s largest parade of the year takes place Sunday at 12:30. Watch the Bavarian Blast parade right from the fairgrounds (or anywhere else along the route), then get back to music and dancing! Make sure to have your camera ready to catch the Narran (tradition German folklore figures) or the Miss New Ulm Court out on the dancefloor!
If you get hungry, Bavarian Blast is the place to be! German food galore! Bratwurst, pork schnitzel, German potato salad, spaetzle (with or without gravy), sauerkraut, apple strudel – is your mouth watering yet?! This food is prepared by local organizations like the Hub Club and 4H, so you’ll be supporting these local groups while you eat well. If you prefer American food, we’ve got you covered! Burgers, BBQ, French fries, and ice cream are sure to satisfy. Beer, including local Schell’s, will be on tap all weekend long with all of your favorites and new discoveries waiting for you to try. A full bar is available as well. Non-alcoholic drinks such as pop, water, and 1919 root beer (also brewed in New Ulm!) are also available.
Did we mention kids are free?! That’s right, kids, ages 0-16 are FREE Fri-Sun of Bavarian Blast! And, besides the dancing and contests and snow-cones, there are free kids activities as well, including a bounce castle, air slide, and balloon animals! Kids will sleep well after a fun-filled day at Bavarian Blast!
Festival participants often come dressed in traditional German clothing. Ladies wear brightly colored dirndls. and gentlemen pull on their lederhosen. If you don’t have the perfect outfit just yet- don’t worry! Bavarian Blast is proud to host vendor German Specialty Imports! Truly authentic clothing, home goods, food, gifts, and other specialties are available for purchase at the German Specialty Imports store area so make sure you check it out and take a few souvenirs home.
If you’re looking for a place to stay: bring your RV or camper! There is onsite camping available. If camping isn’t your forte, don’t worry, New Ulm has plenty of lodging opportunities to suit your needs.
Tickets, both weekend passes and single day can be purchased for the festival. In fact, 4-day passes for all of the action are available in advance at a discounted price for only $50 until July 11th. Tickets can be purchased online or at the New Ulm Visitors Center. For further details on Bavarian Blast ticketing, visit their website: www.bavarianblast.com
Bavarian Blast is an exciting weekend for all ages! Featuring music, food, and plenty of activities, everyone is sure to have a good time. Bavarian Blast is New Ulm’s biggest summer festival and we hope you come on down and discover why. For more information, check out the official website: www.bavarianblast.com
New Ulm is also home to many museums, attractions, historic sites, shops, and restaurants. Make the most of your weekend by exploring this renown tourist destination! Plan your trip with ideas and sample itineraries here: www.newulm.com