The Goose is loose!

By SERRA MUSCATELLO
Journal Staff Writer
NEW ULM -- An expectant crowd gathered mid-morning Saturday to witness the unveiling of a new sculpture perched next to the historic school house in New Ulm's Riverside Park-- "Gertie Goose."
As the blue surgical wrapping tied with blue ribbons was removed by four small children, the crowd saw the four-foot-high "plucky" goose for the first time.
Then unexpectedly, a man in the audience made the sound of a goose which caused people to laugh out loud.
Gertie Goose is a character in fairy tale written by Dr. Ann Vogel that celebrates the area of New Ulm known as Goosetown. The Goosetown area is defined by 18th South and Center Streets and Front Street and the railroad tracks in New Ulm. Farmers who settled in the area had geese that would freely roam the area.
Gertie is a good friend to Hans, a Bavarian gnome, another character in Vogel's tales.
Her stories are awaiting publication.
During the unveiling, Vogel unfurled a long scroll and read a part of one of her tales -- the tale of how Hans and Gertie Goose first met.
After the tale was told, Dan, the local organ grinder, strolled through the park entertaining people with music and a small hand-held puppet monkey.
Three morel mushrooms - Max, Moritz and Meta - also made a guest appearance at the event.
People of all ages - past and present residents of Goosetown and members of the community - lined up for a free 1919 Root beer and then stood around talking to each other. Some people reminisced what life was like in Goosetown a long time ago.
Rueben Boesch, who has lived most of his 88 years in Goosetown, had a few stories of his own to tell people.
He remembers digging up clams from the Minnesota River. The clam meat was used for chicken feed, and the clam shells were sold to make buttons. The shells were shipped down to Muscatine, Iowa, Boesch said.
"Nobody had any money -- if you had a nickel you were rich," said Boesch.

"I think it (the event) went fabulously," said Vogel. "It's out in the sun for a little fun -- that's what we did. Lots of Gemuetlichkeit. This is quite a beautiful park, and it's nice to recognize all the hardworking people who moved here originally when the town was founded."

It has been rewarding for her to see how talented professionals in the community can come together to make an art in the park project happen, Vogel said.
The goose sculpture was made by local artist and MVL art teacher Jason Jaspersen.
Overall, Jaspersen said he was pleased with the finished sculpture.
"At first I was a little leery of working on an animal," said Jason Jaspersen at the event. "There was also the danger of it looking like a giant decoy."
Jaspersen has an upcoming art exhibit at the Kiesling House in New Ulm during September. During the exhibit, the making of Gertie Goose will be featured, along with his other works of art, Jaspersen said.
Other contributors to the project included American Artstone Company, Heritage Memorials and Stone Creations and Heymann Construction Company.
"Everybody has a little bit of a kid in them," said Vogel. "You need to keep the creativity part of your brain exercised and alive and well. I hope everybody big and little feel proud of the town where they live. I think they definitely should."
See more artwork from Jason Jaspersen at jjjaspersen.com, and on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.