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St. Bernard’s Bloomin’ Festival breaks records with huge crowds and sales

The 39th Annual Bloomin’ Festival at St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School was a smashing success! The two-day arts and crafts festival, held on April 22-23, attracted record numbers of visitors and vendors, thanks to the beautiful weather and the variety of quality handmade products on display.

People from all over the country came to Cullman to enjoy one of the best festivals in the South, according to Festival Director Joyce Nix. Nix, who has been in charge of all 39 festivals, says she carefully selects the artisans who participate in the show to ensure they offer original and high-quality items.

“Our goals are to make sure they are providing a quality handmade product and to do our best to determine if they are a good fit for our show,” Nix said.

She added that the artisans are like family to St. Bernard because they support the work of St. Bernard Prep School. “Many of them have become donors to our program simply because of the generosity of our students and volunteers,” Nix added.

The festival featured 186 booths with a wide range of products, from handmade brooms, blacksmithing, ground cornmeal and grits, handmade baskets, jewelry, paintings of all mediums, wood turned bowls and pens, to wooden handmade toys, clothing, baked goods, fudge, funnel cakes, strawberry waffles, and the best street corn ever. Visitors also discovered cut out metal art, birdhouses, wind chimes, doll clothing, purses, pottery, leather, birdfeeders, birdhouses, teak furniture, and much more. The festival continued on Sunday with cooler temperatures in the low 60s, but that did not stop the visitors from enjoying the arts and the attractions.

One of the attractions was the Ave Maria Grotto, a miniature replica of famous religious sites and buildings, which offered a discounted admission for the festival weekend.

The festival also featured a grand prize sweepstakes for a Jeep Renegade and other prizes. The sweepstakes drawing was held on Sunday at 4 p.m., with Fatehr Joel Martin, O.S.B., presiding. The winners were Ann S. McMahon of McCalla, AL - Jeep Renegade, Allen Cervi of Chelsea, AL - Apple iPad, Michelle Bessette of Leeds, AL - Apple iPods, Patsy Armstrong of Cullman, AL - Fitbit watch, and Charles Fulks of Madison, AL - weather radio.

Nix expressed her gratitude to everyone who supported the festival in any way. “Your participation makes it possible for us to have a fun family weekend in Cullman, and it also helps continue the longstanding tradition of education at St. Bernard Prep,” she said.

St. Bernard is already planning for its next events. The 7th Annual Bernard Blues and BBQ festival will be held Sept. 9-10, and the 40th Annual Bloomin’ Festival will take place April 20-21, 2024. Applications for both shows are available now at stbernardprep.com.