Alabama Gourd Festival Draws Vendors Nationally


Vendors From Across the Country Show Off Work at Art Show


CULLMAN – Many of us in the area know what a gourd is. We have seen them used as bird houses probably at one point or another, or perhaps used as a festive decoration. At the Alabama Gourd Show held at the Cullman Civic Center this Saturday, many artisans showed off their creativity and the many uses of gourds.


The 16th Annual Alabama Gourd Festival is a celebration of the artistry that has come from gourds, and the imaginative minds that see the art in these simple plants.


“This is actually the state show for Alabama,” said Pam Montgomery, show chairman for the event. “We have been having this event annually for 16 years, and while this event is for Alabama, we have vendors from nine different states participating. One company is from as far as California.”


While Alabama’s festival is smaller than some, it was still an impressive display of the wide variety of uses that gourds have.


“It takes a lot to put on a show like this,” Montgomery said. “Lots and lots of people and time to put it all together. We have a lot of interesting people and have a lot of people that come for our demos and classes.”


Pam Montgomery is an amazing gourd artist herself, and talked about why gourds are such a wonderful medium for art.


“I have painted for 25 years,” Montgomery said. “I got into gourds about 10 years ago. I love the variety of them and shapes. They can call to you, and they almost tell you what they want to be.”


One vendor, who hails from Kentucky, was actually a part of helping to start the show here in Alabama.


“I travel to all the east coast shows and a couple of the west coast shows,” said vendor CeCe Thomas. “This show and Kentucky’s shows are smaller, but we make it fun for everyone. People seem to really enjoy themselves at these shows.”


There was a variety of gourds on display at the show, with a variety of art forms like carving, wood burning and more. Thomas talked about the gourds native to this region, and how gourds are used all over the world.


“Here in our region there are a lot of painters, but those on the west coast are more carvers,” said Thomas. “Our friends from Peru, for instance, do wood burning with just a stick. While our friends from China are all about molding gourds, and those from Canada tend to be more about carving.”


Christmas ornaments, lawn ornaments, canes, birdhouses and home décor of every variety were just a few of the things that customers could get their hands on at the festival. Area locals were pleased with the show as well, and were impressed with the vast variety.


“We really liked the gourd Santas,” one young attendee stated. “It’s always so interesting to see the different gourds and what people can do with them. This was a great show.”

The show takes place every year, the third weekend in October. According to Pam Montgomery, the show has grown a lot over the years, and there is a sizeable waiting list for spots for vendors. Not only is this a great tourism attraction for the city, it is a great activity for families to enjoy together. Everyone at the show had a smile on their face and a gourd in their arms, and that is what this festival is about – family and fun.