Santa Claus came to downtown Cullman this weekend, but he also brought three inches of rain and a thunderstorm with him.
The Cullman Downtown Merchant’s Association (CDMA) hosted its inaugural Celebrate Christmas event Friday night, only to have torrential rainfall cancel the nighttime parade and force most of the festivities to relocate or close down early.
Despite the challenges, outgoing CDMA president Nathan Anderson said the event was still a great trial run to gauge interest in a nighttime Christmas festival.
“Obviously, the weather changed the event, but we still were able to do the kids activities, and all our bands performed, though we had to move some of them around a bit,” he said. “We received a lot of positive comments from those who attended, and that’s a good sign. People were cold and wet, but they were still smiling. That’s a success for us.”
Though some locals decided to brave the cold and rain for a chance to see Santa and his reindeer, Anderson noted attendance obviously paled in comparison’s to previous Celebrate Cullman downtown events.
“It obviously didn’t get close to those previous events, but considering the weather, we still had a great showing,” he said. “There was a pretty decent line for Santa Claus, and that stayed solid until we wrapped up. We took things as far as we could, but we just couldn’t get a break with the weather.”
Though the parade was canceled, Anderson said all the floats will still be judged and winners announced — it’ll just be a few days later than planned.
“We’re judging the floats on Wednesday, and that’s taken so long because we have to locate them all, because some didn’t come out, because they were waiting to see how the weather developed,” he said. “We really hated folks didn’t get to see them all, because there were some awesome floats. They definitely far exceeded my expectations.”
Though Anderson will be rolling off the board soon, he said he hopes the new president will see the good ideas on display this weekend and continue the event in 2014.
“If the weather hasn’t hampered, I feel it’d have been one of our best events,” he said. “I hope this is something they’ll continue, and I’ll encourage them to do just that. Though we had a bad experience with the weather, everyone involved as so excited. This could be a really great event.”
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.