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Cullman's festival is unique in country

By Staff
Staff Reports, Hartselle Enquirer
In many places throughout the country, Oktoberfest means a celebration of all things German, with an emphasis on food, culture and beer.
Nearby Cullman's Oktoberfest is no different in its salute to Germany, except for one thing: Cullman hosts the country's only dry Oktoberfest. While you can enjoy German food, dancing, arts and crafts and culture at the Oct. 1-10 event, you won't be able to partake of any beer.
Still, the event draws thousands each year. Cullman's 21st annual Oktoberfest includes music, food and dance, all with a German theme.
Cullman's Oktoberfest began in 1977 as a one-time celebration of the centennial of Sacred Heart Church. Encouraged by the event's success, the school turned Oktoberfest into an annual event. In 1982, the Cullman Downtown Merchants Association started a one-week festival that ended in Sacred Heart's fair. The event became the first Oktoberfest.
Opening ceremonies for this year's event will take place Oct. 4 at 4:30 p.m. at the Cullman County Museum. This year's Burgermeister will kick off the annual celebration under the tent.
The museum is open free that afternoon. Admission is $2 the remainder of the week.
The historic cottage of Dr. Aldo Weiss will be open Sunday and throughout the week free of charge. The cottage is located at 402 First Ave. SE.
Activities will continue all week at the Oktoberfest tent.
Among the performers under the tent will be Terry Cavanaugh and the Alpine Express, performing polkas and other Bavarian biergarten-style music from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Wolfgang Moritz will perform on the accordion and keyboard everyday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Accordionist Dave Leonard will perform at nursing homes and schools during the week, with his combo at the Burgermeister Ball on Oct. 9 from 7-11 p.m.
Children's activities will be held under the Oktoberfest tent at the museum each afternoon from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Local talent will also perform at the tent each day.
Boy Scout Troop 31 will serve light German meals each day and evening under the tent until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Visitors can also find information, schedules and directions at the tent.
History comes alive during Oktoberfest tour
The Cullman Historical Society will bring the town's history to life during Cullman Oktoberfest with a living history walking tour of the Cullman City Cemetery and a bus tour of the historic district.
Twelve costumed reenactors will be stationed around the cemetery Oct. 3 and 4 to talk about their character's role in the city's early history. The walking tour begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and tickets are available at the Oktoberfest tent.
Vans will take participants from the tent to the cemetery. Chairs will be available at each station and a golf cart trolley will be available for people who have difficulty walking or standing.
The bus tour of the Cullman historic district is set for Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. It will also leave from the Oktoberfest tent.
Fred Abt, an amateur historian and lifelong resident of Cullman, will conduct the tour on an air-conditioned bus. The cost is $2.
For more information, call 1-800-533-1258.
Auto show features vintage models
Oktoberfest's Vintage Automobile Show is set for Oct. 2 at the Cullman County Museum and Train Depot. The show is open to classics, customs, antiques, street rods and muscle cars.
The event will be at Arnold Street and First Ave. NE. two blocks each of Highway 31.
The event will be show and shine, no judging.
Variety of events highlight week
There's plenty of ways to have fun at Cullman's Oktoberfest.
Every night from 6:30-9 p.m., the musicians will bring their foot-stomping style to the Oktoberfest tent at the Cullman County Museum. Performing with the keyboard, according, Alphorn, tuned cowbells, singing saw and other traditional folk instruments, Cavanaugh has been entertaining audiences from around the world for two decades. In addition to the evening performances, he will also be at area schools throughout the week.