The return this week of summer street party 2nd Fridays will eye a bigger role from downtown merchants, take aim at a possible state record for the number of classic cars on display, and court local women with a lineup of ladies’ night-themed attractions and events.

The July iteration of the monthly festival has its eye on luring the most-ever antique and classic cars to provide street scenery, with last month’s attendance from North Alabama car owners inching near a record for cruise-in events statewide. 

“We’re hoping, if the weather cooperates, to set a record for events of this kind,” said Chamber business development director Brian Poole. ”We’re at 311 vehicles now, which is just short of the record — which one of our car owners told us is 320 for casual street festivals like this. We’re doing a motorcycle display area this month down in front of Depot Park, too.”

On the southern side of U.S. Highway 278, the Cullman Downtown Merchants Association (CDMA) will be staging amusement park attractions including a Ferris wheel, as well as a "Pets on Parade" event at 6 p.m., and a petting zoo adoption center for shelter pets needing a forever home. Cooperating with CDMA to hold concurrent street events is a great way to expand the celebratory atmosphere while alleviating pedestrian pressure in the Warehouse District, where 2nd Fridays originally got its start, said Poole.

“We’re grateful to partner with CDMA so that guests can come and really enjoy an extended festival area,” he said. “We’ll be taking turns hosting the dog walk; they’ll do it on their end this month, and then it’ll be down in Depot Park next month. It’s great that everyone’s worked together to make this an event that spans seven city blocks in the heart of historic downtown Cullman.”

On tap for ladies’ night is goat yoga, which pairs — you guessed it — baby goats and yoga in one of those therapeutic crossovers that’s best understood simply by participating. There’ll also be a traditional “gentle rain” yoga session for beginners, as well as a special painting class offered by local art company Sips ’n’ Strokes. 

2nd Fridays staples like three live music stages, a rock climbing wall, and Artists’ Alley all will make their customary appearance, so there’ll definitely be something on tap for just about everybody. Slated to kick off along First Avenue at 4 p.m., 2nd Fridays is completely free to attend, and it all returns to downtown Cullman on Friday, July 12.

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by phone at 256-734-2131 ext. 145.

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