Alabama Strawberry Festival: Event goes statewide

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The Eli Young Band (left) and Niko Moon (right) will headline the Alabama Strawberry Festival in Cullman May 3-4, 2024. (www.alabamastrawberryfest.com)

CULLMAN, Ala. –The city of Cullman is preparing for an event that symbolizes more than just the celebration of spring’s bountiful harvest. Nathan Anderson, executive director of Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism, shared insights into the inaugural Alabama Strawberry Festival set for May 3 and 4, 2024, marking a significant evolution from the longtime Cullman Strawberry Festival.

“This festival is a showcase for food, arts and music, representing our commitment to celebrating local culture, agriculture, business and the arts,” Anderson explained. The transformation of the Cullman Strawberry Festival into the official state strawberry festival, as recognized by a June 2023 resolution from Gov. Kay Ivey, not only honors the city and county’s heritage, but also positions Cullman as a pivotal cultural tourism destination in Alabama.

The expansion of Cullman’s festivals, including the Strawberry Festival, Oktoberfest and Christkindlmarkt, has been both deliberate and dynamic, a response to growing interest and attendance, according to Anderson.

“Extending the (Strawberry Festival) event to a two-day affair allows us to accommodate the growing attendance and enhance the festival experience,” Anderson noted. “This approach has proven vital in growing tourism in the region, showcasing the area’s commitment to celebrating heritage and promoting family friendly activities.”

With the recent announcement of funding from Ivey to aid in the revamping of Depot Park, where the festival will take place (along with the Cullman Festhalle), Anderson unveiled plans for Phase II of the project.

“We’re moving forward with improvements that include enhanced infrastructure and more open space, crucial for accommodating the diversity of activities our festivals now host,” he said. “These upgrades are essential for sustaining the growth of the festivals while ensuring that Depot Park remains a versatile venue for community events.”

Addressing the balance of local and out-of-town vendors, Anderson highlighted the importance of supporting the community while inviting diversity.

“Local vendors are the backbone of our festivals,” he said. “The careful selection of vendors ensures that, as the festivals grow, they remain rooted in celebrating and promoting local businesses alongside introducing visitors to new experiences.”

Amid concerns that rapid growth could dilute the festivals’ original charm, Anderson reassured residents that the expansion has been aligned with community values and heritage. “Our focus on tradition, local culture and community engagement has ensured that we retain our small-town charm and appeal,” he stated. “This thoughtful growth strategy aims to welcome larger crowds without compromising the essence of Cullman’s community spirit.”

For families accustomed to attending these festivals, Anderson assured that cost remains minimal. Admission to all events continues to be free, a testament to the city’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

“This underscores our dedication to our community, ensuring that our festivals continue to be a source of joy and celebration for everyone,” Anderson concluded.

The Alabama Strawberry Festival will take place Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2024, at Depot Park and the Cullman Festhalle. Entertainment headliners are The Eli Young Band and Niko Moon. Get more details at www.alabamastrawberryfest.com.

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