63rd annual Cullman County Fair underway


CULLMAN – The 63rd annual Cullman County Fair got underway Thursday afternoon with the raising of the Cullman Lions Club’s new 12 -by-18-foot American flag on the fairground’s new flagpole.  Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs was joined by members of the Cullman City Council and Cullman County Commission, Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry, and other officials, who were on hand to see the flag raised and the ribbon cut.  Afterward, the crowd that had stood for the national anthem outside the gate was welcomed in, and the fair was on.

Before the festivities began, Lions Club Fair Board President Charlie Childers took a few minutes to talk to The Tribune about this year’s event.

“We have a whole new carnival this year,” said Childers. “They’re Reed Exposition Midway, from Texas.  They weren’t affected by the weather out there; they were up north when that happened.  We’re glad to have them here.”

Even with the new company, there is still a very familiar feel to the midway.  People expect a Ferris wheel and tilt-a-whirl, midway games and all that fair food that’s so bad for you, but oh so good.  Visitors will not be disappointed.

Childers assured The Tribune that the food is top-notch. “The health inspectors were just here today, and gave our food people a good report.”

He also pointed out that this year’s food lineup features something all new in the form of a Cajun-style seafood vendor whose menu includes bayou delicacies like low country boil and alligator.

The entertainment lineup will also see two new acts:

  • “Skin & Bones & Co.,” a kids’ circus featuring (according to the fair’s website) “trained dogs, potbellied pigs, juggling, low wire, magic, and plenty of comedy!”  performing every night of the Fair.
  • Pitman Magic, a magic show also featuring juggling and comedy.  Performing Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30

With an average attendance of up to 30,000 per day over the last few years, the fair is the Lions’ biggest fundraising event.  Childers talked about where all that money goes.

“Our first thing is indigent eye care.  In giving back to Alabama (Lions) Sight, we have tons of people from Cullman, Alabama that receive that, anywhere from a person who needs cataract surgery that just can’t afford it, that it’s not inside any of their insurance,” said Childers. “They have to qualify, but we do a lot of cataract surgeries.  Any child that comes to us, that doesn’t meet some program, that needs help, we do our absolute best to take care of them, make sure that they get glasses, so they can do well in school.  That’s our first thing.

“Our second thing, there’s a lot of community projects.  We keep up, and have done this past year, we redid one of our parks.  We have one park that we maintain all the time, and then we just look at other things all throughout the year that comes up, that’s brought to us from the community.”

Lions and other volunteers make the event run the way it does.  The list includes, among others:

  • More than 100 Cullman Lions Club members
  • Cullman Lioness Club (women’s auxiliary)
  • Cullman High School, Vinemont High School and West Point High School Leo Clubs (student Lions Club auxiliary)
  • Cullman County Master Gardeners
  • Cullman County Extension Service / 4-H

Capt. Mark Persall was on hand with other members of the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office and Cullman Police for the grand opening.  He explained that, occasionally, law enforcement officers have had to deal with disorderly conduct and people becoming intoxicated in the parking lot, but those incidents have been scarce.  Incidents of violent crimes have been quite rare.  The Cullman County Fair is, historically, a safe, peaceful and family-friendly event.  

See a full calendar of events for this year’s fair at https://cullmanfair.com/calendar.

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