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April 4, 2014

Bloomin’ Fest 2014: Spring’s beauty, arts and crafts at St. Bernard

Now in its 30th year, the annual Bloomin’ Festival kicks off Saturday. Finally, spring has arrived and it’s time to get out and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.

The event begins with a 5K/10K run Saturday. Runners will enjoy the trek through the cool, quiet, wooded trails of the Abbey forest at 7:30 a.m.

If you’ve been cooped up too long this winter and want to enjoy a leisurely day with lots to do in a relaxed atmosphere, there is no better place to do just that than the beautiful grounds of the St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School in Cullman. The gates open to the craft fair at 9 a.m.

For arts and crafts fair enthusiasts, this is a celebration of exciting new treasures to discover.

“We have a fantastic, sold out show,” said festival director, Joyce Nix.  “We encourage everyone to invite their family, neighbors and friends to visit St. Bernard for a weekend of wholesome fun for the entire family.”

Live demonstrations of broom making, glass blowing and pottery demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend. There will be several booths from which to choose colorful oil and portrait paintings, a plethora of jewelry, interesting ironwork, handcrafted birdhouses, unique children and ladies clothing, and clay works, as well as wood-turned items that include pens, shaving tools, and bowls; personalized clocks, windchimes, hummingbird feeders, handmade soaps, home décor, painted eggs, and many more interesting finds.

The Cullman County Master Gardeners have been working diligently for months to pot blooming and evergreen plants in hundreds of species and varieties. Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you choose the right plant for your landscape.

The monks have been busy baking monk bread, candles, and have added hand-made rosaries to their list of works.

Everyone is excited about the new addition to the Bloomin’ Festival — a down home, old-fashioned, lip-smackin’ crawfish boil. The zydeco music will lead you straight to it, if the smell of spicy Cajun crawfish just out of the pot doesn’t.

Of course, there will also be the great food you’ve been accustomed to eating at the Bloomin’ Festival, like savory smoked chicken, polish sausages, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with all the fixins. And don’t forget to save room for funnel cakes, strawberry Belgian waffles, or soft serve ice cream.

Freshly squeezed lemonade and Pepsi products will be served to quench your thirst after a day of strolling over the campus and visiting the Ave Maria Grotto just across the way.  

Nix encourages Bloomin’ Festival attendees to be supportive of  Bloomin’ Festival sponsors who help each year in bringing this family-oriented festival to life.

“Our festival sponsors are giving and community-minded servants,” said Nix. “Their support helps bring this art-filled event to Cullman and St. Bernard. Make sure you let the fine folks at Pepsi, O.F. Richter & Sons, Richard Electric, Merchants Bank, Cullman Jefferson Gas, Wal-Mart Distribution, and Regions Bank know how much you enjoy Bloomin’ Festival.”

On Sunday at 5 p.m., a 2014 Jeep Patriot, digital camera, a GPS system, a Blu-Ray disc player, and an iPod shuffle will be given away.

Admission to the festival is a donation of $5. Children five and under are free. Admission to Ave Maria Grotto for the festival weekend only is $3 per person. All proceeds benefit St. Bernard Preparatory School, a private boarding and day school operated by the Benedictine monks of St. Bernard Abbey.

For more information, visit www.stbernardprep.com or www.bloominfestival.com.

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