By Todd Moen
In honor of New Germany’s 125th anniversary, a dedicated group of organizers have been hard at work planning what promises to be one heck of a party – and everyone is invited. And please note, if you miss the celebration, which will be held July 13-15, you’ll have a pretty long wait until the next celebration comes around.
"Most communities have something every year and I think people kind of get burned out. We’re only ambitious every 25 years," joked Shirley Jaeger, the secretary of the 125th Anniversary Committee. "We’re getting a little nervous because it’s getting so close but we’ve been working on this (since 2010) so we’re excited it’s here."
The celebration begins on Friday with a slate of evening activities that begin at 6 p.m., including a history display, souvenir, food and beer stands, music by The Bingos and Tuxedo, a softball tournament, and the lighting of the Memory Tree at 9:45 p.m.
"For the past year, we’ve been selling lights on the Memory Tree for people to honor a spouse or parent who has passed away or for people who are missed but still alive," explained Jaeger, who noted that Sterling Arbor of New Germany donated the tree.
"We have more than 600 bulbs on the Memory Tree," she said.
On Saturday, a 5K adult and children run begins at 8 a.m., which is when the history display and stands open for business. The softball tournament begins again at 9 a.m. The tournament is an annual event that was incorporated into the festival this year.
"We’ve worked with Hollywood on this tournament for the past three years. Teams are coming from all over the state and one is coming from Fargo, N.D.," Jaeger said.
Also at 9 a.m., a craft fair opens. A children’s medallion hunt begins at 9:15 a.m. and kids activities, an antique car show and a kickball tournament all begin at 10 a.m. The Legion hosts bingo starting at 11 a.m. and pony rides and a petting zoo open at noon.
The Jason Paulson Band will perform from noon to 4 p.m. Other entertainment includes an Old Tyme Band performing at 2 p.m., the Kevin Lang Band playing from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the DiamondBack Band performing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. An old-timers baseball game will take place at 3 p.m. and a league baseball game starts at 5 p.m.
A fireworks show will take place near the parochial school grounds at 10 p.m.
"Fireworks are becoming a big highlight for community celebrations," Jaeger said. "They are enjoyed by everyone from the very young to the very old. The show will be done by Americana, the same company that did the fireworks show for the last community festival held in New Germany 25 years ago."
The fun continues on Sunday with an antique tractor show starting at 8 a.m. and a church service under the tent starting at 9 a.m. The stands open at 10 a.m., the same time that a pulled pork dinner by B’s on the River becomes available. The softball tournament continues at 10:30 a.m., the same time the Singing Friends will perform.
The Grand Parade will take place in downtown New Germany starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Jaeger said the parade has more than 115 units and people will be allowed to walk with their units and pass out candy to children if so desired. Units can still enter the parade, but at this late date, they would not be included in the printed program.
"We’re looking for a great crowd (for the parade)," Jaeger said, noting that thousands of people attended the parade during the last community celebration held in 1987.
After the parade, the Highliners, the Chuck Thiel Band, and the Hobo Band are slated to perform at various spots in and near downtown New Germany. The celebration is expected to end at approximately 6 p.m. on Sunday.
"We’re excited. We think we’re going to have a nice festival with something for the kids, something the older folks, something for everybody," she said.
Another aspect of the celebration that is sure to draw excitement is a raffle.
Tickets are $5 each and the grand prize is a Henry Goldenboy 22 LR gun with engraving. Other prizes include tickets to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and gift cards for local businesses.
At the end of the celebration, if the committee shows a profit, Jaeger said the committee is going to donate 10 percent of it to help with flood disaster relief for folks that recently experienced 100-year rains in northern Minnesota.
"We are so blessed in this area," she said. "I was born and raised in New Germany and we’ve never really suffered from a horrible disaster that wiped out everything (like it did recently in northern Minnesota)."
Whatever the case, Jaeger and the rest of the organizers hope to see the community come visit New Germany July 13-15.
"We’d love to have everyone come join us and celebrate our heritage," she said.