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April 16, 2010

Annual Bloomin’ Festival starts Saturday

Spring time can only mean one thing in Cullman, the Bloomin’ Festival is here.

St. Bernard Prep School will host the 26th annual Bloomin’ Festival this weekend.

“Each year the show grows,” said Joyce Nix, festival director.

Nix said there are 150 vendors lined up this year with a variety of arts and crafts.

“Artist from across the United States bring quilts, clothing, baby items, soaps, pottery, stained glass, jewelry and other items to the festival,” she said.

The festival began with just a handful of vendors, but has grown to be one of the largest festivals in the South.

“We have so many unique vendors from all over the United States,” Nix said.

Not only are there arts and crafts, but a variety of foods to choose from.

There will be smoked chicken, polish sausage, roasted almonds, fresh squeezed lemonade, caramel apples, kettle corn and much more.

“The food is unbelievable,” she said.

One big improvement this year will be parking.

“We think we have got a solution to any traffic problem,” Nix said.

There will be a uniformed officer at the entrance and exit each day to assist drivers.

“It has been a pleasure working with the city to map out a strategy for our parking problems,” she said.

There will also be shuttle services from the pasture parking to the gates to accommodate guests.

Throughout the two-day event, entertainment will be provided by the school’s choral department as well as the FHA String Band from Cold Springs High School and others.

The Ave Maria Grotto will be open at a reduced price of $3 per person.

Nix said the school has been happy to work with many local merchants this year.

“We are really glad to be working with many local companies and to be able to sink money back into our local economy,” she said.

The monks of St. Bernard will also have their Monk Bread for sale at the festival.

“This year they also made rye bread and Italian bread,” Nix said.

The grand prize for the give-a-way this year is a 2010 Ford Focus. Tickets can be purchased at the festival and the drawing will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. Other prizes include a two-night stay in Gatlinburg, Tenn., an Apple iPod Touch, a GPS navigation system and a Phillips digital photo frame. Winners do not have to be present to win.

Proceeds from the event go to the school operation. Organizers ask that no pets be brought to the festival.

For more information on the festival, visit www.stbernardprep.com or the festival’s site at www.bloominfestival.com.

* Tiffany Green can be reached by e-mail at tgreen@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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