Sweet Tater Festival caps off summer at Smith Lake Park

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(Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – For most people, Labor Day Weekend is the official send off to summer, but in Cullman County, it is also a time to show appreciation for the sweet tater! As the state’s top producer of the sweet potato, this is the 25th year of the Sweet Tater Festival. Besides the milestone anniversary of the popular event, this year Governor Kay Ivey made the sweet potato the official state vegetable of Alabama.  

This year’s festival returned to its two-day celebration at Smith Lake Park. Last year the festival was shortened to one day due to the pandemic. Cullman County Park and Rec Director Doug Davenport is using the 2019 festival as a point of comparison and said, “The turnout has been great, and I believe we are close to the attendance of the 2019 Sweet Tater Festival.”  

The rainstorms that came through Cullman County late Sunday night and early Monday morning caused a bit of concern for Davenport, but he said, “It didn’t start raining until after the festival last night. It was a little cloudy this morning but thankfully it turned out to be a beautiful day.” 

Davenport also reported that all RV spaces were full and the park had to utilize its overflow spaces for this Labor Day weekend. He did not have exact numbers but said, “I think there are more people here this weekend than we had on the Fourth of July. That’s pretty great.” 

This year’s festival had plenty of Cullman County sweet potatoes on-hand from Kress Farms. As of Monday afternoon, there were still sweet taters left, but they were selling fast. Another big hit at this year’s festival were the sweet potato pies and festival t-shirts, which Davenport was happy to have available again this year.  

In the main event area, festival goers enjoyed clogging, live music, food and arts and crafts. The kids were especially drawn to the petting zoo, bungee bounce, balloon twisting and face painting. Others waited for their chance at some German ax throwing. Across the street under the trees, the Sweet Tater Car Show attracted vintage cars from all-around Alabama and beyond. The folks the Tribune spoke to at the car show were not only having a wonderful time but were very appreciative of the shady accommodations.  

Besides the festival and car show, guests enjoyed the pool and other amenities at Smith Lake Park as the summer of 2021 came to a close.  

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com