Sweet Tater Festival, Cruze Fest wrap up Labor Day at Smith Lake Park


Visitors enjoyed vintage cars under the pines at Cruze Fest at Smith Lake Park on Labor Day.  / Nick Griffin

CULLMAN – The final day of the 21st annual Sweet Tater Festival held even more great events and saw an even bigger crowd out at Smith Lake Park than day one. Many people waited in traffic between Whitlock's and the park entrance for more than 30 minutes to get in on the day's festivities.

A couple of the thousands of people who flocked to the park this weekend were Larry and Blenda (who didn’t give their last name) from Hartselle. This was their first year participating in the festival and after taking it all in they couldn't pick a favorite part of the event to single out.

"We've enjoyed everything out here. It's all good, it's all nice it really is, we've enjoyed this out here," Larry said.

They were also very pleased with the venue in their first trip and thought it was a great spot to host the festival.

"We think it's been great, it really has," they agreed. "We've really had a great time out here with this and it's been a real nice place to have it."

There were even more live musical performances on the main stage starting at 9:30 with Terry Adams and followed by Chimney Branch, a bluegrass ensemble group comprised of members from Cullman and Winston Counties. There was a quick break in the music for a sweet potato pie eating competition underneath the main tent. All the pies this year were provided by Bojangles’s.

Not unlike the Pepsi chugging contest from day one, participants had three minutes to get down as many sweet potato pies as they could and had to hold them down to come away with a free T-shirt.

After the break in the action, the main stage saw the return of Taylor Hunnicutt & Company from day one to provide even more of their style of music to an even larger crowd. Tragic City was the final act on the stage to provide a change of pace in the musical entertainment. They brought more of a jazz style to the event that had been serenaded by country and folk songs for the last two days.

This year's Sweet Tater Festival was a great time at a great venue but it wasn't the only thing happening at Smith Lake Park this Labor Day. Going on over closer to the camping area was the third annual Cullman County Cruze Fest and Swap Meet featuring great displays of cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors of many kinds from many different eras.

Cullman County Parks and Recreation expected a much bigger turnout for the car show this year and felt that last year's participation suffered from the threat of rain during the event. This year however, hundreds of people came out to show off their vehicles and mingle with their fellow motorists out at the park.

They had a big crowd to show off for this year, and hundreds of people made the short walk from the Sweet Tater Festival to browse the displays of all the vintage and new vehicles alike.

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