‘One for the history books’ | News

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Perfect weather (and perhaps a bit of pent-up desire to get outside) conspired over the weekend to draw throngs of guests to the grounds of St. Bernard’s Monastery for this year’s annual Bloomin’ Festival, marking what coordinator Joyce Nix calls one of the most successful iterations of the event in its nearly four-decade history.

“It was one of the most amazing weekends we’ve ever had,” a tired but optimistic Nix said on Monday. “It was definitely a history book. We just had fantastic weather both days, and it really brings people out.

No official attendance numbers were available on Monday, just a day after the weekend event ended. But this year’s festival drew large crowds, at times slowing eastbound traffic along US Highway 278 to a near standstill, with busiest times finding vehicles at a bumper ramp against bumper to Main Avenue in Cullman – a distance of nearly three miles from the St. Bernard campus.

“We haven’t had a chance to recap the event yet, so I don’t know how many people came out at this point, but it was a crowd,” Nix said.

“Our artists were thrilled with the crowd, of course, but they were also thrilled with our community. Cullman did his best for visitors this weekend, and everyone involved – from our sponsors, to our student and parent volunteers, to locals who just came out and enjoyed the festival – all gave their support. considerable at our event. We couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out – or more grateful to the community. »

Organizers are already looking at the October schedule, hoping the momentum from this year’s huge Bloomin’ Festival turnout will carry over to Bernard Blues & BBQ, St. Bernard’s other big annual fundraising festival. PrepSchool. “I already have people signing up for Blues & BBQ and for next year’s Bloomin’ Festival; sellers who liked how things went over the weekend and want to move on and get on board,” Nix said.

Much of the appeal, she added, comes from each festival’s focus on curating its range of arts and crafts vendors. “When you watch a man sit down and make a broom out of the corn straw he grew himself, or see our own local blacksmith, Allan Kress, hammering away some of his work, it’s remarkably appealing to people. It’s something unique that you can’t find in a retail store or online, and I think that extends a very strong appeal.

The bespoke weather, of course, certainly helps too. “Oh, there’s no doubt about it,” laughed Nix. “The weather makes all the difference. But none of this would have been possible without the tremendous support of our community.

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by phone at 256-734-2131 ext. 234.

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