Bigger, brighter, fresher: Cullman County Fair officially open

W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune

The 2018 Cullman County Fair opened Thursday. The fair will run through Saturday, Oct. 13. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – On Thursday afternoon, the 2018 Cullman County Fair opened with a ribbon cutting at the main gate, as a crowd of visitors waited their turn to get in.  Too-hot-for-October weather encouraged the Cullman Lions Club and local dignitaries to keep the ceremony short, and folks were happy to get through the gate and on their way to the rides, games, exhibits and fair food.

Fair President and Lion Charlie Childers welcomed visitors and, after the raising of the giant American flag at the gate, Lion volunteer James Williams cut the ribbon to get things rolling.

Several people noted that the layout of the fairgrounds under its new amusement company Kissel Entertainment seems well-organized, clean, and colorful.

Childers shared, “Our new fair company is from Clanton, Alabama so they’re Alabama folks, and we’re proud to have them.  I visited them last year, and it has got to be one of the cleanest, nicest carnivals you’ll ever go to.  Beautiful rides; they’ve got a couple of huge, big rides that anybody ought to have a challenge to be on and keep their lunch.  And they’ve got a great hospitality tent set up, so when it is really hot, you can sit under it and get a little cool shade.  And you’re just going to be really surprised.

“They own everything here, from the carnival standpoint.  It’s not leased out to anybody else or contracted; it’s this company,” smiled Childers. “And it’s a family business that they’ve had for many, many years.  And you’re just going to find they’re very proud of it, and we’re proud to have them here.”

“When you walk around here,” added Lion Randy Craft, “you look at how well organized it is, look at their employees, look at the difference in what you’ve seen in other fairs and what you see here.”

The Kissel website states that each ride is inspected daily, and that safety is a top priority. Kissel requires all employees to pass drug screening and background checks. For more information on Kissel Entertainment, visit

Childers is also excited about Kissel not contracting outside companies for carnival games and food vendors, explaining to The Tribune previously, “The new group brings their own food trucks and operates all the games. Their food trucks are spotless and clean. The games are also designed to promote fairness.”

Parents of young children will be happy that Kissel also has an entire selection of rides and fun for the little ones.

Childers recalled, “Last year, the group we used had very few attractions for small kids. Many children weren’t permitted to ride the non-moving seats on the carousel. We were not happy about that, and neither were families. This year hopes to be all-inclusive.”

Things to look for at this year’s fair:

  • Some county fair classic rides like the Tilt-A-Whirl and Matterhorn
  • New high-flying rides like Alter Ego, a 120-foot tall thriller that takes riders to the top of a giant spinner and flips them!
  • A variety of rides for fairgoers of all sizes
  • Impressive woodworking and quilts, among many other items in handicrafts
  • All the regular pageants, plus special events like a spelling bee, talent show and dog show
  • And of course, the new Alabama state-record watermelon.  It’s huge!

For a full fair calendar, visit

For a full photo gallery of Thursday’s opening night, visit

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