Photos: New Ulm celebrates its annual Fasching and Bock Fest

1 Two attendees at Bock Fest show what happens to a mug of beer after it has been poked, a tradition in which a hot poker is put into a beer. The poker warms up the beer but also caramelizes part of the beer, leaving parts of it stuck to the outer edges. Sub-zero temperatures also helped to keep the caramelized parts stuck in place. 
2 A beer is poked at Bock Fest on Saturday, March 1. Poking a beer is a tradition in which a hot poker is placed in a glass of beer, warming up and caramelizing part of the beer as well. 
3 Troy Fossett, left, and Mike Rothschild stop for a picture at Bock Fest, held on the grounds of the August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, Minn. Held each year in conjunction with Fasching, attendees are encouraged to dress up in costume. 
4 John Kolbe of Sleepy Eye, Minn. sold different kinds of furs just off the grounds of the August Schell Brewing Company as part of Bock Fest. With temperatures dropping below zero, Kolbe said that sales were good. Kolbe said he has been going to Bock Fest for the past six years. 
5 Matt and Steve Ringhofer, two staff members at Bockfest held on the grounds of the August Schell Brewing Company, wore bottle cap studded attire to the event. 
6 Gary Penkert and Jean Dubell dance to a polka song at Turner Hall as part of the Fasching celebration held in New Ulm, Minn. on March 1. Penkert said that he and Dubell have been dance partners for 19 years, "Going on 20," Dubell quickly chimed in. 
7 Old buttons and stickers for the Narren lay on a table in Turner Hall. This year marks the 25th year that the Narren masked group has been at the Fasching celebration in New Ulm, Minn. 
8 Manager Virginia Suckermoldan clears some plates at the Turner Hall restaurant during Fasching on March 1. Many restaurants and bars in New Ulm were packed during Fasching and the accompanying Bock Fest. 
9 Winners of the Fasching costume contest were the Miss New Ulm Royalty, from left, Allison Bastian, Amber Gutzke and Britta Palmer. The three dressed as the Buddy's Soda characters. 
10 The Narren group dances to a polka song in Turner Hall during the Fasching celebration. The masks that the Narren wear were made in Steinhilben, Germany. The Fasching celebration also originates from Germany. 
11 Sue Hogan, left, adjusts her goat mask as the Narren group took a break from performing in Turner Hall in New Ulm, Minn. As is tradition, the Narren kidnap the mayor of New Ulm and return him for a ransom during Fasching. 
12 Greer Plagge, 4, dances with her sisters Adeline, 6, Lucia, 9, and grandmother Violet Plagge at Turner Hall during Fasching held on March 1. The four wore traditional German dresses known as a dirndl. 
13 Kathy Ruby, dressed as the Narren character Katrina, dances down an aisle as the group began inviting others to dance with them at the Fasching celebration held in Turner Hall in New Ulm, Minn. The carnival-style Fasching, which dates back to medieval times, is thought to symbolize the driving out of winter and to scare away its evil spirits with the masks. 
14 After Bock Fest concludes at the August Schell Brewing Company, festival goers continue the comradery at the bars in downtown New Ulm. Here, the B&L Bar is packed from wall-to-wall on Saturday evening. 
15 Each year for Fasching in New Ulm, Minn., strips of cloth are hung from wire in the downtown area in a nod to an old German peasant tradition. The German festival of Fasching is meant to chase winter away and hurry the oncoming of spring. 
16 Virginia Suckermoldan, manager at Turner Hall in New Ulm, Minn., donned a feathery mask during her shift on Saturday. Residents of New Ulm are encouraged to dress up in costume during Fasching, a festival that has been called the German Mardi Gras.