Cullman Christkindlmarkt attracts more than 200K visitors

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The Cullman Christkindlmarkt welcomed 210,000 visitors from 41 states and more than 700 cities. (Martha Needham)

CULLMAN, Ala. — The Cullman Christkindlmarkt saw a significant expansion this year. The market, known for its festive atmosphere and cultural significance, introduced new attractions and extended its operational days, attracting a diverse crowd from across the nation.

Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Executive Director Nathan Anderson discussed the market’s growth during, and at the conclusion of, the event, which took place every Thursday to Sunday, from Nov. 24 to Dec. 23.

“This year, we’ve increased the number of vendors, extended the days of operation and introduced new features like ice skating and a carousel. We’re focusing on enhancing the authenticity of the experience, down to the smallest details,” he said.

The crowd estimate for the Christmas tree lighting was nearly 18,000, with the parade drawing around 20,000 attendees. “Calculating parade attendance is complex, but we use a combination of geofenced attendance tracking, drone footage analysis and on-street visual estimates,” Anderson explained.

The economic impact of the event has been notable. “We hosted 210,000 visitors from 41 states and over 700 cities, with an estimated direct economic impact of over $15 million,” he said. “This year’s event has not only boosted local commerce, but also highlighted Cullman’s capacity for hosting large-scale events.”

With 75% of the businesses at the market being local, the event has emerged as a key player in Cullman’s economic and community engagement. Anderson added, “Every vendor has reported success and plans to return next year. Our aim is to create mutual benefits for attendees and vendors alike.”

Looking ahead, Anderson revealed plans for further expansion, supported by a federal grant. “We’re expanding the park (Depot Park), which will allow for more vendors and visitors next year. We already have six new vendors signed up,” he said.

Anderson extended his thanks to sponsors, CPRST, City departments, elected officials and the park board for their support. “Their commitment to our city and to creating lasting memories and economic growth is remarkable,” he said. Additionally, he expressed gratitude to vendors for their trust in the event’s vision.

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