Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Printed in The Cullman Times -April 17, 2009

Bloomin Festival starts tomorrow By Tiffany Green

The Bloomin’ Festival, one of the South’s largest arts and crafts festivals, is Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.For the past 25 years Joyce Nix has served as festival director and has seen it grow from 60 vendors in the gym to more than 170 vendors this year.“I don’t think you will be disappointed,” she said. “It’s larger than it’s ever been.”More than 170 vendors from all around the United States will be there with all types of works for sale.“We have a wide variety of goods and arts and crafts by vendors from as far as Texas and New York,” Nix said.

“We offer a show which appeals to the old and young alike.”This year will start on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. with a 5K race. Registration will be in the St. Bernard gym and the cost will be $20 to preregister and $25 the day of the race. The 3.1 mile race will be along the campus of St. Bernard. Each finisher will receive a T-shirt.

Raffles are held for prizes at the end of the weekend. The grand prize is a 2009 Ford Ranger. Tickets can be purchased until the drawing is held on Sunday evening.The festival is the largest fundraiser for St. Bernard School, a private boarding school operated by the Benedictine monks for more than 100 years.“This is a special year because we are celebrating the 25th year of the high school, the 25th year of the festival and the 75th year of the Grotto,” Nix said.

The festival has partnered with the Downtown Merchants Association to sell T-shirts. Nix said a complimentary pass is given with each T-shirt purchase.The shirts are available at Berkeley Bobs, Deb’s Book Store, Mary Carter Paint Store, Southern Accents, Bennett’s Gifts, Jewelry Gallery, Consign and Design, The Uniform Place, The Lee Agency, Cullman Quick Copy, and Interiors, Inc. Shirts will also be available at the Bloomin’ Festival.“We want to provide the community with a good family festival.” Nix said.

“All the money raised goes to a worthy cause.”The festival has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top Twenty Event in the Southeastern United States.“We will have the festival rain or shine,” she said. Along with the arts and crafts, there will be food vendors. There will also be entertainment provided by the St. Bernard band and choral departments, as well as by singers and instrumentalist.

Admission is a $5 donation and admission to the Grotto is $2 all weekend. For more information visit www.bloominfestival.com.

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