‘It’s been years in the making’: Cullman’s Christkindlmarkt officially opens

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CPRST Executive Director is joined by sponsors, park and rec team members and dignitaries from the City of Cullman and Cullman County to cut the ribbon on Cullman’s Christkindlmarkt Friday morning. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s Christkindlmarkt is officially open the for the holiday season and a crowd gathered at the newly-renovated Depot Park for Friday morning’s opening ceremony. Cullman’s Christkindlmarkt is the south’s largest German-inspired Christmas Market, featuring an ice skating rink, Christmas Carousel, Christkindl Express train ride, over 40 vendors and more and Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Executive Director Nathan Anderson was excited to see years of work and planning come to fruition Friday.

“This is something we’ve been dreaming about for years and to see everybody’s hard work from the research and planning phase all the way to the execution and building of the site and the programming details, to see it come together is absolutely incredible,” Anderson said. “The total package makes us one of the best in the south. So, to have something so special, the largest and most authentic Christkindlmarkt in the south is incredible to have in Cullman.”

Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs is ready to open the gates and let people see what they’ve been working on and one of the things he’s most pleased with is the authenticity of the German elements at the market.

“Obviously we are super excited to get to this point. We’ve been building towards this grandiose thing we have this year and lots of work has gone into it but this will bring lots of folks to town so we just can’t wait,” Jacobs said. “Cullman was settled by Germans so we’ve tried to maintain part of our German heritage, and this is a very authentic Christkindlmarkt that you would find in Germany in any large town or small town. So, bringing these extra pieces in to say, ‘this is where we came from’ is just exciting and we’re glad to be able to do it.”

Before cutting the ribbon, Anderson spoke to the crowd gathered for the grand opening, thanking everyone who helped with the project for their years of work and support.

“It’s been years in the making. We’ve kind of been dipping our toe in the water with this for the last several years but after this past year we saw enough, and we knew we could do it. The city council and mayor helped us get the park renovated which is beautiful and functional for events,” Anderson said. “We love it and there have been far too many people to mention that have been involved with this, from our own park and rec team to a lot of friends that know how to hold a hammer and drill and helped us put this together. Every city department has been involved in this at some point in time so thank any of them from street to water and sewer, police, fire we’ve had them all involved.”

Anderson continued,

“75% of the booths you see are occupied by locals, so it’s going to have a real authentic look, but you need to know that our locals made that happen. I want to thank our Christkindlmarkt Committee as well and we have several German members so you can thank them for all the little details down to the wood shavings. I promise you every little detail in here that maybe you’ll notice or maybe you won’t, was well thought out and planned out.”

Mayor Jacobs also shared a few words before the ribbon cutting, praising everyone’s hard work in making the market as authentic as possible.

“So, one thing I figured out, don’t listen to social media because they tell you all kinds of things that are not correct about this or negative about this, and 99% of it is positive, but if you’ve been to Europe or you’ve been to Germany and been to a Christkindlmarkt, this is it, I promise you,” Jacobs said. “And like Nathan said, it didn’t happen overnight. We have been to several in the United States, we’ve been to Germany thanks to Rehau and them telling us places to go to come up with this and lots and lots of work went into it. We’re not quite finished but we’re close enough to open it up.”

Cullman’s Christkindlmarkt is open Thursdays from 4-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays noon-8 p.m.

For more information, visit www.cullmanchristkindlmarkt.com

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