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December 10, 2013

Churches hosting European style Christmas festival, market

Santa Claus, carriage rides and a mechanical bull nicknamed Buckin’ Blitzen are coming to Cullman to get families and residents in the Christmas spirit.

St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church, with the help of neighbor Christ Lutheran Church, will host its first ever Christmas Festival and Market Dec. 14 at St. John’s on Second Avenue Southeast. Inspired by the festive and family-friendly atmosphere of German-style Christmas markets, organizers said they want to draw on St. John’s German heritage to celebrate the wonder of the season.

“It’s all about celebrating the magic of Christmas and bringing that spirit to our community and families,” said Rev. John Richter, interim senior pastor at St. John’s. “With our rich German heritage, it just made sense to bring the German-style market here to Cullman.”

Typically held in town squares in European countries like Germany and Austria, markets allow revelers celebrate Christmas Advent with street vendors selling food, drinks and seasonal items from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing.

From 1 to 6 p.m. children can play games on Candy Cane Lane, hurl themselves onto a Velcro Wall, ride a carousel, hop around in inflatable houses, take a hayride or get a picture with Santa. Admission to the festival and all children’s activities will be free.

While the kids play, parents and grandparents can shop at the Dinckelberg Market where 45 market vendors will be selling eclectic handmade arts and craft items. Food vendors will also be on hand selling gourmet items like wood-fired pizza, turkey legs and flat-bread sandwiches as well as classic festival food like funnel cakes and hotdogs.

The Cullman High jazz band, members of the Good Hope marching band, Wallace State Community College Singers, St. John’s praise band, Shirley’s Dancers and Abbie Cook will perform along with other local entertainment.

Christ Lutheran is building a stable for its live nativity to recreate the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem. Willy and Camilla Hendrix are having a huge handcrafted wooden entrance sign constructed for the Dinckelberg Market, which is named in honor of the former Dinckelberg Store that operated at the same site.

The Cullman Historical Society will also conduct tours of St. John and Christ Lutheran’s sanctuaries.

“We’re hopeful that this can be an annual event for the community to come out and enjoy Christmas with their families,” said organizer Gyzelle Warren.

For more information, call 256-734-0344.

Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at towens@cullmantimes.com or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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