Packed-out Holly Market opens Friday morning, continues Saturday


More than 80 vendors are selling their wares at this year’s Holly Market Christmas Arts and Crafts Show at the Cullman Civic Center. The market continues on Saturday. / Nick Griffin

CULLMAN – A sure sign that the holiday season has begun, Cullman Parks and Recreation’s annual Holly Market Christmas Arts and Crafts Show opened at 9 a.m. Friday morning at the Cullman Civic Center. The building and its parking lot were quickly packed out. The market is a two-day event and will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well. Guests can browse through countless handmade crafts, decorations, food, gifts and everything in between, available from more than 80 unique vendors.

The Civic Center’s main hallway has been transformed into “Candy Cane Lane” and leads to even more fun features at this year’s market. The Candy Cane Café and the Jingle Bell Bakery can be found toward the end of the hallway along with even more vendors set up in the some of the classrooms. The organizer for this year’s event, CP&R’s Kelly Pulliam, has made sure that all the available space is packed with crafts, food or fun of some kind.

“For both days we have the entire building full of handmade crafts; it’s all handmade crafts at the vendors, there’s nothing here that is store-bought,” Pulliam said. “The side rooms will all be full, the auditorium will always be full, and we also have stuff like the Candy Cane Café. You can get breakfast and lunch and snacks, and in the next room we have Heart’s Desire, who has been here since 1991. We also added the Jingle Bell Bakery where the kids can go decorate cookies so that’s new this year.”

One of Pulliam’s biggest problems in the three year’s that she has organized the Holly Market, is that she doesn’t always have enough room for everything she wants to include.

“Every year we’re full. I am adding outdoor vendors on Saturday, so I’ll probably have about 15 extra vendors outside because I kept getting requests for more vendors. If I had more space I could get everybody in there, but I can’t.”

The Holly Market has always been a popular tradition in the community but even Pulliam herself was a little surprised at how big the turnout was on opening morning. She was happy to see so much excitement from the community after the work that went into putting the market together.

“I was just going around checking all of the stations and everyone is just beyond busy. They are shocked and we’re not even two hours into the day, but we’re already very pleased with the turnout this year. It’s basically been me and a couple of other people that have organized it this year. Of course, we had help decorating and everything. I start sending out applications around June or July every year and then I try to contact people by October to give them time to get ready.”

One of the participants on opening morning was Melissa Williams from Jasper. This was Williams’second year to come see the market, and she was excited to browse all the items after she waited in the massive crowd.

“I like to come see all the different vendors and all the Christmas stuff that they have available here,” Williams said. “It seems like they have more vendors here this year, but there isn’t any more room. They need some more room here to fit in more vendors. The crowd actually seems larger this year. When we first got here we couldn’t get in or park; we had to drive around three or four times. Once we finally got to the door we had to wait in line and couldn’t see anything because there were just so many people here.”

There is even more planned for day two of this year’s Holly Market, including a chance to get your picture taken with Santa from noon to 2 p.m. The weekend isn’t over for the Holly Market, but it’s safe to say after a big opening Friday morning that this edition will be another successful one.

Tip: get there early Saturday morning!

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