By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
After drawing more than 15,000 people to Cullman last year for a one-night concert, a state parks association has honored Rock the South as event of the year.
The Alabama Recreation & Parks Association announced the award at a recent event in Mobile. The first edition of Rock the South featured country artists Dierks Bentley and Kellie Pickler playing at Heritage Park, and was held on the anniversary of the April 27, 2011, tornadoes.
The city has since teamed up with award-winning country artist Sara Evans to make the event an annual festival, with the second year set for June 21-22 at Heritage Park.
Officials say the award is a major accomplishment for the first-year event and shows the potential for large-scale music festivals in Cullman.
“Anytime we can get some recognition by doing something good for the community and by improving the quality of life for the citizens of Cullman and Cullman County, we believe it’s a plus,” Cullman Mayor Max Townson said. “That goes along with our saying, that we believe Cullman is the best place to live , work, play and worship.”
Considering the 2012 edition came together in just a matter of months, Townson said the award is confirmation the council made the right decision to host the event.
“When we first thought about doing it, we were a little apprehensive because we had never taken anything to that level,” he said. “But it turned out to be phenomenal, and any type of recognition is a plus. Not just for Cullman, but as the word spreads and gets back to Nashville it can help us hold events like this for years to come. It seems like we’re riding a wave of all the good things that have happened in Cullman and Cullman County. It’s a real blessing.”
Cullman Parks Director John Hunt said the award is a credit to the staff involved in the event, especially considering the condensed time table.
“It’s a great honor anytime you can be picked among your peers for a special event, it’s just great,” Hunt said. “I can’t say enough about the great job by our staff. It was a great success and we’re glad we’ll be able to continue that.”
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.