Warehouse District paving completed just in time for Christmas Open House

Wreaths and garlands adorned storefronts and ornament-covered trees filled display windows, while live Christmas music and carriage rides helped visitors take in the official opening day of Cullman’s holiday shopping season Saturday. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s downtown merchants celebrated the opening of the Christmas shopping season Saturday with a communitywide retail open house, and the merchants of the Warehouse District got an early holiday treat with the completion of paving along the stretch of First Avenue that runs in front of their businesses. Work crews stayed into Friday evening to make sure the job was done, and the avenue was ready for Saturday’s event.

Paving work is set to begin soon farther to the south along First Avenue, and the Warehouse District still awaits lamp posts and its distinct overhead festival lighting.

Watching the day’s happenings from the Festhalle, Mayor Woody Jacobs told The Tribune, “The project, overall, is going well. As far as workdays, it’s ahead of schedule. The main goal was to try to get these first two sections open to the public by this weekend, and we barely made it! We stayed late last night, finished up the paving, but you know, we were successful with that. And we’ll work on the next section, which doesn’t really bother the shopping too much for the rest of the year. But all the merchants were extremely happy yesterday to get it to this point, so if they’re happy, we’re happy!”

Through the day, shoppers strolled First Avenue through the Warehouse District and on down to other merchants where, among other things, Duchess Bakery enjoyed its typical line of waiting customers and A Touch of German hosted a food truck. Live music drifted down the street, artificial snow swirled around giant greeting cards for photo ops at the Festhalle, carriage rides gave visitors an opportunity to relax and see the sights, and classic and custom cars filled the parking area around Depot Park for the annual Ho Ho Ho Christmas Show / Car, Truck, Motorcycle Show.

Sitting across from the giant wall-sized angel wings that are becoming a downtown landmark, Warehouse District developer Shane Quick took in the sights and sounds and talked about what has happened recently to get the district to this day.

“It’s going incredibly well: perfect weather, the City was able to work with the contractors to get the pavement down- the new pavement on the new roads in the Warehouse District that we’re all excited about. It was fun watching them, over the last couple of months, do all the heavy lifting and the work to get this area like it is now. It’s not completely done yet, but it’s very close. But, you know, more than anything we’re grateful for the investment the City’s made in this area, and for all these local businesses that work out here 52 weeks a year,” said Quick. “We’re excited to kick off the Christmas season- hopefully end this year on a good note. It’s been a crazy year for all of us, so we’re excited, this time of year, to be here. Just wishing everyone health. Come out and support local businesses in Cullman.”

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W.C. Mann