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Breanna Bell, a sophomore at Cold Springs High School, center, won the Miss Strawberry Festival Pageant Saturday.

The 80th Cullman Strawberry Festival is bringing back an old tradition, as well as mounds of strawberries, food and a musical headliner to close the evening.

Slated April 27 at the Festhalle Market Platz and Depot Park in downtown Cullman, visitors will find a wide range of activities for children and adults, and the chance to meet Strawberry Queen Breanna Bell, a sophomore at Cold Springs High School. She won the pageant among 123 participants on April 6 at the Cullman Civic Center. It was the first official Cullman Strawberry Festival pageant since the original testivals that ran from 1939 through the 1950s.

“We were amazed at the number of contestants, with this being the first time in years to have a queen for the festival. We have been blessed with the response to the pageant and the growth of the festival,” said Christy Turner, recreational development director at Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism. “We wanted to bring back more tradition, and the pageant was one of the top events in the earlier years.”

Live music performances will be featured throughout the day, but a headline act will be announced this week.

The confirmed music lineup this year includes the Cullman Community Band, the Cullman High School Jazz Band, Shannon McNeal, The Overtones, Round 2, the St. Bernard Jazz Band, Blind the Sky.

A baking competition has been added as well and is open to anyone. Entries must be any baked strawberry dish and will be judged on the day of festival. Entries must be submitted by 10 a.m. at the Festhalle and must be labeled with food name, participant name, contact information, and a list of ingredients. The winner of the competition will be announced on-stage at 1 p.m. The Taste of Cullman, a promotion throughout the week leading up to Strawberry Festival, is also planned and includes which local bars and restaurants offering special strawberry-themed foods and drinks.

The ever-popular sidewalk chalk contest is also returning, along with about 120 vendors selling arts and crafts in Depot Park.

“This is a great tradition in Cullman. This festival and honoring the farmers who have made our area so successful and widely known makes for a great celebration,” said Parks & Rec Director Nathan Anderson. “We’re continuing to add new aspects to festival while reaching back into the tradition as a way to reach more people so we can all discover more about our community heritage and potential.”

Festivities begin at 7 a.m. with opening of the Festhalle and continue into the night, ending with headline concert. There is no admission cost.

For updated information and a schedule of events for the Cullman Strawberry Festival, visit cullmanstrawberryfest.com or on Facebook.

 

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David Palmer has decades of experience in the newspaper industry. He currently serves as editor of The Cullman Times.