CULLMAN, Ala. – Being Burgermeister of Cullman’s Oktoberfest celebration can be a hectic duty during the event, but Steve Moore, the city’s 2019 selection, may actually have to slow down a little to take on the task.
Moore, an Arkadelphia native and 1979 graduate of Hanceville High School, is an operations manager at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, and has worked for the company for 36 years. When not at work, he’s, well, at work, managing his own cattle and hay farm just outside Cullman, which can be another full-time job in itself. If that is not enough, he is a member and former chairman of the board of the United Way of Cullman County and has served on the Cullman City Schools Foundation Board. He and his wife Nancy Clemmons Moore have four children: Brittany, Nash, Caitlin and Hunter. They also have four grandsons: Kaden, Spencer, Liam and Cohen.
Moore got into Oktoberfest through his wife, whose parents Phil and Pat Clemmons started some of the traditions of Cullman’s celebration like the mums that decorate downtown businesses and area homes, and the giant hay people that greet visitors on U.S. Highway 31 and in Depot Park. (www.cullmantribune.com/2019/09/10/i-love-cullman-i-love-oktoberfest-i-give-this-my-whole-heart-and-soul/) His own first contact with Oktoberfest came at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church, where the Moore and Clemmons families have both been long active.
Moore explained, “I’ve been involved in Oktoberfest for about 15 years. How I got involved in Oktoberfest was when I first started dating my wife now, we went to St. John’s Church. They have an Oktoberfest meal every year. My wife’s parents, Phillip and Pat Clemmons, were very involved in Oktoberfest. When I went to that dinner, I ended up getting volunteered to wash dishes. So I washed dishes at the church, and, you know, that became my job for a few years after that.”
After his wife’s parents died in a tragic plane crash in 2008, according to Moore, “I took on putting up the hay people, because my wife’s parents are the ones that started that. They were in Germany one year, a trip to Germany, and saw the hay bale people, and thought that would be neat to bring back to Cullman. My wife sort of took that on after her parents got killed and, since we did hay anyway, that seemed to fit. So, we’ve done that every year since.”
The Clemmonses were honored posthumously, named the 2008 Burgermeisters, and Nancy Moore and her siblings shared the task that year to honor their parents’ memory.
Said Steve Moore, “That was really sort of my first experience with what a Burgermeister did, you know, just going places with my wife that week.”
In 2012, Nancy Moore was named Burgermeister, and Steve Moore was the faithful spouse, attending all the events and getting even more of a feel for the role that he would one day assume.
What does it mean to be the 2019 Burgermeister?
Moore said, “Mostly, it’s a huge honor for me, I feel like. You know, not everybody gets to be Burgermeister, and I was very honored that they chose me to be Burgermeister this year. I look forward to it. It’ll be a busy week, I’m sure, that week, trying to attend all the events and be the face of Oktoberfest, or trying to be the one that welcomes people and encourages people to come and take part in our events and stuff that go on during Oktoberfest that week. Personally, for me, it means a lot, because it was a very big honor to be chosen to be Burgermeister.”
He continued, “I think that Cullman’s German heritage, it means a lot to try to keep that in the forefront, you know, because it was a German town from years ago. And one of the things that the Oktoberfest Committee has managed to do through all of this Oktoberfest is- you know, we were sort of a unique entity when I first was involved in Oktoberfest, because it was a dry Oktoberfest. Not very many Oktoberfests- we were probably the only Oktoberfest that was a dry Oktoberfest.
“Then Cullman went wet, and since Cullman’s went wet, it’s opened up a lot of other venues, and the event has really grown. But one of the best things that I think that the committee has continued to do is they’ve managed, even through all of this and the growth, and the going wet, the changes, they’ve managed to keep it a very family-friendly event that just welcomes people of all ages to have a good time. I think that’s the biggest takeaway for me from Oktoberfest.”
What are you most looking forward to during the celebration?
Moore answered, “I look forward to just, you know, seeing all the people come out and enjoy themselves. And I look forward to all the entertainment that we’re going to have that week; they’ve already announced Taylor Hicks, and some other folks are coming.
“It’s a really good event. It’s great for the kids; you know, they have a kids’ zone for the kids to come to. And Senior Day is a big day, too, so that’s a biggie to look forward to: all of the seniors from the county get to come out, enjoy the entertainment and have a meal. That’s what I look forward to.”
Cullman Oktoberfest 2019 will take place Oct. 2-5. For more information, visit https://cullmanrecreation.org/cullman-oktoberfest/ or www.facebook.com/cullmanoktoberfest.
Copyright 2019 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.