Lions' Oktoberfest kettlekorn
sales moving to Wurst Haus
The Hermann Lions Club will have a special location for its traditional kettlekorn sales during Oktoberfest, citing the great popularity from customers as necessitating the switch.
After discussions with the City of Hermann, the club has chosen to accept an offer from Mike Sloan of Hermann Wurst Haus to utilize the business's rear parking lot on Gutenberg Street for its new kettlekorn sales trailer during Oktoberfest. The trailer is currently still under some construction, but is due to soon make its formal debut at the festival that officially starts in Hermann less than two weeks from now.
Several Lions members attended the Sept. 12 Hermann Board of Aldermen meeting to originally seek approval for a kettlekorn trailer location at the intersection of East First and Gutenberg streets. But that discussion spawned some feedback from city officials -- including Mayor Bruce Cox -- concerning the safety needs of pedestrians and motorists at that intersection.
Past club president Ron Kraettli began the presentation by stating the Lions have been mulling the location change to East First and Gutenberg for quite some time, in line with the creation of the new kettlekorn trailer. The club has been interested in the move, he continued, due to the high level of potential customer traffic in that area -- undoubtedly one of the busiest confluences in Hermann during Oktoberfest or any other weekend, for that matter.
Kraettli said the corn is popped elsewhere before being brought in for sales, which the club touts as continually growing in its demand from the public for the impulse item. It is the Lions' main fundraiser of the year, with proceeds benefitting scholarships, the leader dog program for the blind, and pickleball. The money is not used for routine club operations.
Settling down at the intersection is a maneuver designed to maximize profits for the Lions, said Kraettli.
His presentation was received with a bevy of concerns on safety associated with the walk-up sales.
"I think the bottom line is the safety issue," Cox said. He added that those concerns have been emanating from Police Chief Marlon Walker, and that he understands those reasons.
There would be sufficient eyes and ears to monitor the safety situation, according to Kraettli. Responding to a question from Alderwoman Susan Lenger, he said kettlekorn sales are harder to produce away from the intersection and that attempts elsewhere have resulted in lower volumes.
"That is our busiest intersection," Walker answered, asking the club to consider another location. "The risk (for accidents) is too high."
The trailer will be self-contained and have no seating, which the customer will have to provide for themselves while waiting for their bag of kettlekorn. Kraettli said the club would be able to cordon off the queued lines for sales at the trailer to ensure safety.
"We don't want to put anybody in jeopardy," he told the BOA. "We're concerned about the safety too."
The board failed to agree on any votes that would have approved the trailer at East First and Gutenberg under certain conditions.
However, the club subsequently decided on the arrangement with Wurst Haus. City Administrator Tricia Heaney said the Lions will not need to reappear before the board at its Sept. 26 meeting to seek any further action. The license granted by the city is for use of private facilities during a festival. No public streets, alleys, sidewalks, or parking lots will be involved in the arrangement.
The Lions began their kettlekorn project more than two decades ago. Dave Fagerness has led the effort to create the new kettlekorn trailer for the club's use. The product is sold at other festivals and is also donated at local events.