The Cullman Times
Efforts to further build Cullman's market reached an interesting and exciting point last week when several city officials visited country music superstar Sara Evans to discuss establising an annual music festival in the area.
An ambitious proposal on the surface, this type of signature event is exactly what Cullman needs to extend its appeal beyond a few surrounding counties. The competitive arena of economic development demands bold initiatives that invite new investments, a steady stream of visitors and anticipation within the existing community.
Will Sara Evans and Cullman join together for an annual signature event? Some of the necessary foundations for hosting a successful event are already in place. Evans is immensely popular and successful in the music business. She has topped the charts and produced other hit records that were not far from the top spot. She's interested in using her talent and influence to help Alabama. She's also aware that Cullman hosted the highly successful "Rock the South" event in the spring.
But there's more about the Cullman area that has appeal for a large-scale event. Cullman is down-home, yet sophisticated in how it approaches business. For those who are familiar with the area, its reputation as a family environment is strong. The defining factors of community fully exist here through charitable giving and came fully to the surface in the aftermath of the April 2011 tornadoes.
The City of Cullman has also expanded its economic development team to work on retail development alongside its successful record of recruiting industry. The expertise at work in that team ensure that the area has an opportunity for meaningful, measured growth.
Heritage Park worked well for "Rock the South," but the Burrow property offers an alternative for staging additional events or establishing a permanent entertainment and convention complex.
Perhaps the last, unfulfilled part of the area's need is close to being established. With so much afoot, the need for a stronger tourism and strategic marketing team remains crucial for moving forward. A well-funded and properly staffed tourism and marketing staff with ties to the city, county and chamber of commerce would tie together a lot of good ideas and initiative.
The Sara Evans proposal will require a lot of work to ensure that Cullman could be a permanent host. The setting is unmatched for such an event in Alabama.