6th annual Bernard Blues and BBQ celebrates artisans

Trayce West and Georgia Duke of Wild Honeys’ Road Show won Best in Show at the St. Bernard Blues and BBQ Festival. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – St. Bernard Prep School hosted its sixth annual Bernard Blues and BBQ Festival over the weekend. The popular festival featured arts, crafts and music from artists all over the Southeast with unique handmade items for sale. 

Guests enjoyed live music from Elnora Spencer, Earl Williams and the Juke Band and The Sinners as they perused booths full of handmade pottery, wreaths, door hangers, flowers, wood turned bowls, clothing, birdhouses, honey, jewelry, soap and more. Various food vendors provided pulled pork, ribs, hamburgers, brats, chicken and more. 

While a handful of vendors had to cancel due to sickness or weather, Festival Director Joyce Nix said 67 were on-hand for the weekend.  

The juried art festival awarded $3,000 in prizes to participating artisans, including Best in Show, first place, second place and Distinction Awards. 

Trayce West and Georgia Duke of Wild Honeys’ Road Show were named Best in Show.  

Said West, “We were so surprised. This was our first year. We’re from Scottsboro, and this is our first year here, so we’re definitely gonna be back in the spring for the Bloomin’ Festival.” 

She continued, “We’ve been to several (festivals) in the proximity of our hometown. I like this one better because I like the atmosphere and the venue and the music. A lot of places don’t have that.” 

Like most of the artisans’ work, West’s and Duke’s products are handmade. They craft whimsical characters, building around old dolls or recycled goods to create characters full of personality.  

Duke has been building her characters for 25 years and said she taught West to do the same. The two operate Wild Honeys’ Road Show with three other artists. Individually, West sells her goods out of Patches Merchant Emporium in Scottsboro and Duke has Paper Moon Originals.  

First place went to Angela and Barton Pierce for resin and woodworking; second place to Rami Awwad for hand-carved olivewood; Distinction Awards including Best Fiber/Leather to Shannon Quick; Best Jewelry to Jimmy Bendall; Best Ceramics to Rebecca Horner; Best Sculpture to Lindanne Phillips; Best  Wood to Tim Reid; Best Art to Krel Buckelew; Best Functional Art to Ray Cousins; Best Decorative Crafts to Ruth Crist; and Best Decorated Booth to Rose Marcum.  

Nix said vendors were already submitting applications for the school’s Bloomin’ Festival. She said Bernard Blues and BBQ began “just to have something in the fall to do. The vendors actually were the ones who asked for it.” Many vendors look forward to St. Bernard’s Bloomin’ Festival for the huge, regional crowds it draws each spring.   

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