- Cullman, Alabama

October 5, 2011

Tapping tradition at Oktoberfest

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Oktoberfest opened with Cullman’s traditional tapping of a root beer keg Sunday. The next day, a new chapter opened for the festival.

A large crowd gathered for much of the night Monday as real beer was tapped at the Rotunda. As the night progressed the crowd lingered for hours of entertainment and conversation. Many wore armbands, enabling them to purchase beer, while others simply enjoyed the evening. And through the night they all remained together.

The tapping of the first beer keg did not drive off visitors to the festival, it only drew more people.

Oktoberfest, with legal sales in place, allowed the festival to reach back to a more realistic picture of the German heritage that defines Cullman.

In fact, the first two days of the festival, from the time the keg was tapped, brought a lot more traffic to downtown. Cullman now has an event that can be more successfully promoted both locally and outside the area.

Cullman has in place an interesting and meaningful history. Tourists, especially within driving distance of the area, are searching for authentic history and lively events. With a weeklong schedule, Oktoberfest in Cullman can become of the region’s top events.

The wide streets and historical setting of downtown provide an excellent environment for outdoor events and visiting crowds.

The event is proving this week that the environment is suited for families of all ages.

When planning begins for next year’s festival there is no reason to hold separate opening events, nor should areas be segregated to limit where festival-goers carry a beer. Visitors to downtown should be able to walk the vast majority of the town without unnecessary restrictions during appropriate festival times.

The Oktoberfest board has a great opportunity to share the city’s heritage and treasures with large numbers of people, which is valuable for those concerned with preservation as well as those wanting to generate more business.

Oktoberfest has simply taken a giant step forward this year. The festival is off to a great start and plenty of fun events are scheduled for the remainder of the week. Enjoy.