‘We want everyone to come and spend the day with us’ – St. Bernard rocks the weekend with Blues & BBQ

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The Cotton Pickin' Kids performed live at the St. Bernard Blues & BBQ Festival Saturday. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – St. Bernard’s Prep School was filled with the soul, crafts and good foods for the afternoon. Crafts and vendors, both local and from afar, filled the campus with goods to buy. The first day of the festival proved successful. Festival Director Joyce Nix felt positive about this year’s festival.

“We’ve grown incredibly this year. We’ve opened up our back-quad area, we’ve added another 25 vendors to the event, or maybe even more than that, but we’re really excited about the weather, it’s holding out for us and we have such good help, our students are here and their parents are volunteering along with our staff,” Nix said. ” So, it’s a community effort to pull it all off, we have some really good quality artisans, we have a new t-shirt, monk bread, and just like I said the entertainment is fabulous, so what’s there not to like?”

Some of the artists who performed Saturday were the Cotton Pickin’ Kids, Microwave Dave and Diedra Ruff, the Alabama Blues Queen.

Nix said, “Being in the third year, you have growing pains every year with a new festival especially. But I think what makes St. Bernard so unique and so special is, well we couldn’t do it without our incredible sponsors, the people in Cullman have been so very generous and kind to help us put this thing together. You know, to afford some good publicity, you know advertising is very expensive and that’s a key element to producing a quality event. You bring good quality in, you do some quality advertising, the public is going to respond and so we’re just thrilled with the response.”

She also noted the festival continuing on Sunday, Sept. 14, pointing out that the Saturday slate of college football is stiff competition for the event.

“You know Nick Saban, it’s just kind of hard to compete with Alabama football, and that’s why we have a two-day event. Saturday takes away, if those days are filled, there’s always something to do on Sunday. We have a good variety of vendors though, so I think you’ll be impressed! It’s only our third year, we (originally) did it in response to vendors who said ‘We want to do something in the fall, we think you could do it,’ and we said ‘Well we’ll take a shot, we’ll consider it,’ and it’s turned into a really nice event for us.”

Nix lastly said, “I just think that everyone within our reach should come and join us and see how much fun it really is, and take advantage of the (Ave Maria) Grotto, we have it in our backdoor and we just don’t realize that it’s here because most of the time you don’t do things that are in your backdoor. You want to go out of town! It’s just a good little day trip to plan and come and visit, and we want everyone to come and spend the day with us.”

Sunday, Sept. 15 will the second and final day of this year’s Bernard Blues & BBQ Festival, with the festivities beginning at 9 a.m. going on until 4 p.m. The noted performers for Sunday will be the Southern Pride Band from 10 a.m. until noon, following them will be De Ja’ Blue Horns from 2-4 p.m.

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