Cullman Rocks, Cullman City Rocks and Hanceville Rocks all set up a free rock-painting area near one of the music stages at Friday night's 2nd Fridays event. / Heather Mann
CULLMAN – The local street fair known as 2nd Fridays has become a popular summertime evening activity for residents of Cullman. The city closes off the roads around the Festhalle and Warehouse District on the second Friday of every month from June to September, and guests are free to roam around and visit all the shops and vendor stands. The event provides a great opportunity for the community to support local businesses, but how did it all start?
Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce President Leah Bolin was there to answer.
"We started this event about four years ago. It's changed names since then, but the whole concept was to have an event centered around all of our vendors and businesses downtown so that they could benefit from all the people coming in. They could stay open, and people could discover the great restaurants and stores that we have at a time where they're normally not open. Then hopefully they'll come back for the rest of the year and shop there.”
Bolin continued, “What initially inspired the idea to do this was hearing our businesses say that they needed more business, and also looking for off-season times and times that we can help them bring more customers to their doors. We were thinking and brainstorming about how we could do that; this (2nd Fridays) seemed like a likely thing to get people to walk and go window shopping and explore our town. As you can see around you, it's worked pretty well.
“Since last year, we've partnered with Cullman City Parks and Recreation to put this on, and it's been a great partnership. Together, we've been able to do a lot more: spread out more with both of our staffs, increase our footprint on what we're doing, increase the activities. I think this is definitely our best year yet," she said enthusiastically.
The festivities seem to have something for everyone: bouncy castles, classic cars, live music, locally-produced goods, and, tonight, the chance to take your picture with superheroes and Disney princesses. The 2017 celebrations have seen some popular new features added to the list of things to do. The Artists' Alley, for example, gives local artists a chance to showcase and sell some of their works, and tonight's festival featured the first appearance of Cullman Rocks.
Cullman Rocks, Cullman City Rocks and Hanceville Rocks all set up a free rock-painting area near one of the music stages. Children painted their own rocks to hide around the city and county, while they also hunted rocks hidden in the festival area and redeemed them for small prizes. This is only the second rock-painting event Cullman City Rocks has held, but they're already planning to appear at 2nd Fridays again, and they hope to have a Painting in the Park event when the weather cools off in the fall.
The next, and final, 2nd Fridays event for this year will be Sept. 8 from 5-10 p.m. Find out more at www.facebook.com/2ndFridaysCullman.
Interesting in the recent rock-painting craze? See www.cullmansense.com/articles/2017/07/18/rock-hiding-and-hunting-movement-sweeping-cullman-county.
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