Bicentennial blowout! Cullman celebrates 200 years of Alabama statehood

Fireworks light up the night over Depot Park Saturday at the Alabama Bicentennial Extravaganza. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – On Saturday evening, Cullman joined communities across the state to celebrate 200 years of Alabama statehood. On Dec. 14, 1819, delegates in Huntsville signed the constitution to change Alabama from a territory to America’s 22nd state.

Mrs. Mona Hopper served as Mistress of Ceremonies over a program at Depot Park that included an invocation by Pastor John Richter of St. John’s Evangelical Church, Boy Scout Troop 219 color guard and the national anthem and Alabama state song by the combined choirs of East and West Elementary Schools and St. Bernard Prep School. Councilman Johnny Cook spoke for Cullman’s city government and Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman offered remarks. After Cullman County Museum Director Drew Green spoke, old-time musician Dr. Bill Mann presented popular 19th century American music with Alabama connections, followed by character interpretations by local actors:

  • Blake Tetro – Bro. Joseph Zoettl, builder of the Ave Maria Grotto
  • Hannah Stringer – Annie Lola Price, Cullman native and one of the state’s first licensed female attorneys and the state’s first female appellate court judge
  • Justin Weygand – Col. John Cullmann, founder of the city of Cullman


The Wallace State Singers shared excerpts from their own Bicentennial show which showcased popular music with Alabama connections, from Alabama composers to songs recorded at the legendary studios of Muscle Shoals.

Event Coordinator Cindy Pass then led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the state before the audience was treated to a fireworks show that lit up the sky over downtown Cullman.

During his remarks, Cook told the audience, “I truly believe that Cullman County and Cullman city are the best city and county to live in, in the state of Alabama, so I applaud and thank Col. Cullmann and the founding fathers for settling here . . . We, the mayor and city council of the City of Cullman, are proud to be a part of the great state of Alabama, and want to wish a happy birthday to the great state of Alabama.”

Gudger said, “Someone had asked me earlier tonight what makes Alabama special to me, and obviously that is the people: the working together and, as Coach (Andy) Page on the city council has always said, teamwork. You see that even in the young men and women that are here tonight, coming from East Elementary, West Elementary, St. Bernard Prep School, all coming together to do one job, to stay focused on one mission, and that’s to celebrate this momentous occasion for the Bicentennial.

“From the Governor’s Office of Kay Ivey to Del Marsh, president of the Senate, to Speaker Mac McCutcheon and every legislator, we thank you for being here tonight. There’re birthday parties just like this that are happening all over the state, even in Montgomery, all day today. My other colleagues that work with me, that represent this particular county, (Rep.) Randall Shedd, (Rep.) Scott Stadthagen and (Rep.) Corey Harbison, they work as a team with me, just like we talked about earlier, as teamwork, and we are thankful that we get to represent all of you that are here tonight.”

He continued, “It’s a special time when we can sit with our great state behind us on one screen, and the Christmas tree and the meaning of this time of year on the other end of this park. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re blessed to be in a country and a state that are free. If you don’t understand the importance of that, just turn on that TV and look at Hong Kong right now. We thank you for being here, and the importance of this great state, and we’re blessed to be in the great state of Alabama, and we’re blessed to be in Cullman County.”

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The Wallace State Singers wowed the crowd with a sampler of Alabama-related music. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

W.C. Mann