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Brewfest 'exceeds expectations' in 13th year
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Hundreds of people took a culinary trip around the world Friday during the 13th annual World Food and Brewfest just outside of Owatonna.

Ashlan Zurbriggen, event lead, said this was their best year to date.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “We had a great response from the community and the brewers, and they really seemed to understand and support our mission.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

A handful of teachers and principals from the Owatonna school district came to support the fest. Many said they enjoyed the food and brews and were happy to experience dishes from other cultures. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Although the Alliance of Greater Equity, or AGE, didn’t set any official goals for their biggest fundraiser of the year, President Brian Coleman said the amount of ticket sales, donations and bids on the silent auction all greatly exceeded any expectations they had.

“I think everything about the event overall was good,” Coleman said. “It was good for us because this led us into Welcoming Week, and the weather held out. We’ve gotten so much good feedback and suggestions for next year.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Desserts were abundant inside at the brewfest. Guests enjoyed carrot bars with cream cheese frosting; a Swedish staple, ice cream and a Thai dish of mango sticky rice. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

The group hopes to continue to grow the event and add to the diversity in cuisine and local brewers to pair their brews with one of the dishes.

Throughout the event, professional brewers taste tested, as well as the public to vote on their favorite brewery. Scott Zimprich and Scott Behne of Lucky 13 Brewing stunned the palates of the judges and won both the Brewer’s Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Matt Zurbriggen served up German bratwursts throughout the event. The brats were one of the favorite foods during the fest. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

“It was really great to see how supportive the brewers were of each other,” Coleman said. “There were some clear favorites, but that didn’t stop everyone from showing their support, and that’s what we are all here for.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Guests sampled brews from local brewer Door Number Three Brewing who took second place in the People’s Choice contest. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Menu items included authentic mango sticky rice from Thailand, Korean kimchi soup, German bratwursts, homemade sauerkraut, carrot bars with cream cheese frosting, Moroccan watermelon cucumber salad and more.

Dom Korbel, executive director for Community Pathways of Steele County, attended the event and said he was impressed by the different foods.

“Out of everything I’ve tried so far, there isn’t anything I haven’t liked,” he said. “The watermelon cucumber salad was good and the brats are definitely a favorite, too.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Along with sampling food and drinks, guests participated in yard games like Jenga. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Members of the Alliance plan to convene to recap the event and discuss what the fest will look like for next year. Traditionally the fest was held in February at the Steele County History Center, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they opted to change seasons and venues to accommodate existing restrictions at the time. The group felt since the 2021 Brewfest at Oakview was successful, they wanted to have an outdoor event once more.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Abel Tekeste, owner of Hiwet Products provided samplings of his unique beer brewed without hops. Instead, he uses Gesho which is popular in his home country of Eritrea. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Coleman said taking feedback from the community is important in their considerations for future events, and he thinks going forward the likelihood of the Brewfest being an outdoor event is high. He said he is looking forward to what next year brings.


Owatonna’s defense swarms the ball carrier for Mankato West during the Huskies’ 38-7 loss to the Scarlets on Friday night. (Stephen McDaniel/southernminn.com)


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City engineer charged with felony domestic assault
  • Updated

A department director for the city of Owatonna is facing criminal charges after he allegedly punched and headlocked another male in his home.

Kyle Aaron Skov, 49, was charged Monday in Steele County District Court with felony domestic assault by strangulation. He is also facing two misdemeanor domestic assault charges.

Skov has worked as the engineer and public works director for the city of Owatonna since 2012.

According to the criminal complaint, Owatonna police were notified Friday of a report of a domestic on 17th Street SE. Court records show Skov was the initial caller, but while officers were obtaining a statement from him, the victim also called to report the incident.

The victim reportedly told police Skov had been yelling at him, eventually following him into the garage and “chest bumped/pushed” the victim. The victim said Skov was allegedly “in his face,” so he pushed Skov away, which led to Skov punching the victim in the face and putting him in a headlock. According to the report, the victim said he could breathe but struggled for about 30 seconds to break free of the headlock.

The victim said Skov had allegedly choked him before, but it was never reported. The victim told police in April, Skov had put his hands around the victim’s throat and pushed him into the wall, according to court records.

Court documents show police noted the victim had dried blood on his nose, shirt, right arm and right hand, and light bruising on both sides of the victim’s neck could be seen.

Skov allegedly had no cuts, scratches or scrapes, so the blood did not appear to be from him, according to police.

According to court records, the mother of a juvenile witness told police the witness stated the victim “was not doing anything wrong.”

Skov has no prior criminal history in the state of Minnesota. He was released from custody on Monday, and his next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 17.

According to City Administrator Kris Busse, Skov is currently on leave.

“The city takes such complaints against its employees seriously,” Busse said. “City staff is reviewing the complaint and will take action as determined appropriate and consistent with policies, procedures and the law.”

Due to data privacy laws, Busse said no additional information can be shared at this time regarding the complaint or leave, but she said operations of the city’s Public Works Department will go on as usual.

“We are confident the Public Works Department will continue to operate safely, effectively and efficiently,” Busse said.


Schools are looking for ways to engage students after so much time away from classrooms in 2020 and 2021. Pictured here, then second-grader Anisten Tackmann communicates with teachers and works on classroom activities from home in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Ashlee Tackmann)


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