Friday, April 11, 2014

30th Bloomin’ Festival Held at St. Bernard

Over 140 vendors gathered on the grounds at St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School in celebration of the 30th Annual Bloomin’ Festival Arts and Crafts Fair on April 5-6, 2014.  Thousands of supporters visited St. Bernard to purchase handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork from artist and craftspeople from across the Southeastern United States.

In addition to the wonderful array of artwork, a large variety of foods were offered to festival goers.  The menu included a crawfish boil, smoked chicken, polish sausages, funnel cakes, strawberry waffles, soft-served ice cream, roasted almonds, kettle corn, fresh squeezed lemonade and Pepsi! 

Because of vigorous sales, vendors as well as the school had a successful weekend.  Over 1,800 loaves of fresh-baked Monks’ bread was sold in six hours on Saturday.  Three hundred t-shirts commemorating the 30th Annual Bloomin’ Festival were also popular, as well as the t-shirts featuring Fr. Joel and the crawfish boil.  Proceeds from the Bloomin’ Festival benefit St. Bernard Prep School. 

Saturday was a record-breaking day for attendance.   Traffic backed up past Hwy 31 in downtown  Cullman, but was ushered through city as quickly as possible.  Festival Director, Joyce Nix, reported that the vendors had a very successful Saturday because of the unusually large crowds.  Sunday, on the other hand, was less so because of the forecast of rain.   Rain, when it did arrive, required the closing of the festival an hour early on Sunday.

Patrons enjoyed watching artist demonstrate their talents.  A blacksmith, miller, broom maker, glass blowers, and artist demonstrated the entire weekend. 

Because the date for the celebration for Easter changes each year, the date for the festival also moves accordingly.  “Vendors commented that St. Bernard was one of the only festivals that can change its date, by moving it two weeks earlier, and still have a successful event,” Nix said. 

Fr. Marcus Voss, Director of Development, said, “In conjunction with the Cullman Police Department, we have already begun working on a plan to resolve the traffic problems that occurred this year.  By 2015 we will have a quicker and easier parking plan for our festival patrons.”   

The sweepstakes winners for the 30th Annual Bloomin’ Festival were: 

First Prize - 2014 Jeep Patriot - James Glaze - Hoover, AL

Second Prize - Nikon Silver S3500 Digital Camera - Carolyn Eck - Florence, AL

Third Prize - Garmin nuvi 40 4.3" Portable GPS- Donald Jackson - Decatur, AL

Fourth Prize - LG BP135 Blu-ray Disc Player - Deborah Hodge - Birmingham, AL

Fifth Prize - iPod Shuffle 2 GB - Steven Febres-Cordero - Birmingham, AL 

Ave Maria Grotto also reported a successful weekend with visitors taking advantage of the reduced admission fee to the gardens.  Ave Maria Grotto is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vendor applications are being accepted for the 31st Annual Bloomin’ Festival which is scheduled for April 18-19, 2015.  St. Bernard juries each booth to assure quality and diversity.  Anyone interested in applying can do so now.   Applications are online at www.bloominfestival.com!