CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

April 20, 2013

Bloomin’ Festival opens today

Staff Reports
The Cullman Times

— Mild temperatures and sunny sky will provide an inviting welcome to the 29th offering of the Bloomin’ Festival Arts and Crafts Fair today at St. Bernard Abbey.

“Bloomin’ Fest” is a two-day juried arts festival attracting thousands of visitors to the beautiful 100-year-old campus of St. Bernard Abbey and Preparatory School. Located adjacent to the school is the world famous Ave Maria Grotto. The picturesque landscape of stone cut buildings on the grounds of Alabama's only Abbey provides a backdrop for the out-of-doors show. More than 140 booths are filled with artists demonstrating and exhibiting their work. The festival is the largest fundraiser annually for the operation and maintenance of the school.

Many folks come out for the music, and others enjoy browsing through the immaculate grounds, searching out their favorite vendors, or to meet with friends and to soak up the convivial atmosphere of the festival.

Lots of people wait until this weekend to purchase plants from the Cullman County Master Gardeners Association, who always show up with literally hundreds of lovely flowering plants, herbs and vegetables, for their biggest annual fundraiser. There will also be several knowledgeable Master Gardeners on hand to help visitors choose the perfect plants for your location.

Vendors will be displaying everything from handcrafted pottery and coin jewelry to children and ladies clothing, birdhouses, fashion accessories, metal art, leather, stoneware baskets, homegrown plants, toys, Dahlia bulbs, art in several mediums, ceramics, candles, soap and many more items.

 Live demonstrations will include grinding corn meal and sampling hoe cakes, glassblowing, broom making, and one of Cullman County’s own blacksmiths, Allan Kress, who will be on hand to give people a glimpse of his tradecraft in action.

At the conclusion of the festival Sunday at 5 p.m., a drawing for the festival grand prize will be held. St. Bernard Prep, in a partnership with Cullman Dodge, will be giving away a 2013 Jeep Patriot, Kindle Fire HD 7”, Canon digital camera, Garmin Nuvi GPS, and an Apple Ipod Shuffle.

One of Cullman’s most popular tourist attractions is the beautiful Ave Maria Grotto, which is open the entire weekend for a low admission price of only $3 per person. Admission to the festival is $5.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, rain or shine. All proceeds benefit St. Bernard Preparatory School. For more information and to see a list of vendors, visit www.bloominfestival.com or check out www.facebook.com/bloominfestival.