40th annual Bloomin’ Festival: ‘Truly unforgettable experience’

The 40th annual Bloomin’ Festival was held on Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, 2024. (Cheyenne Sharp)

CULLMAN, Ala. – More than 180 vendors lined the pathways of the St. Bernard campus for the 40th annual Bloomin’ Festival Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, for what organizers called a “truly unforgettable experience.” Displays of artwork, handmade crafts, beauty and skincare products and homemade treats were packed tent to tent.

The weekend was a chilly one compared to the just days before, but the overcast sky and brisk breeze didn’t prevent the crowds from arriving in droves with their pull-behind wagons and carts, ready to shop. Vehicles were parked neatly along every available empty lot at the school. The Cullman Police Department, as well as school faculty and staff, students and volunteers directed auto and foot traffic.

“We are very thankful to our sponsors, and everyone who helped make the festival run like a well-greased wheel,” said  Bloomin’ Festival Organizer Joyce Nix. “The Cullman Police did an excellent job with traffic.”

Bloomin’ Festival is one of the school’s main fundraising events. Vendors pay a set registration fee with one caveat – no outside food trucks are allowed, as concessions at the event are prepared and provided by St. Bernard students and monks from the Abbey. They volunteered their time to cook and serve hamburgers, hotdogs and Conecuh sausage, as well as Monks’ Bread, to hungry guests at the festival. Through vendor fees, concessions, admissions, donations and the yearly raffles and sweepstakes, the school is able to raise a significant amount of funding, ultimately assisting with tuition, extracurricular activities and other student and school needs.

Nix said, “It was a fun weekend. In spite of the cold temps and rain we were very thankful to all who supported the school. Everyone seemed to be happy.”

This year, Cynthia Bishop of Huntsville walked away with the keys to a 2024 Jeep Compass; Patrick Vu, a festival tourist from Fountain Valley, California, won an Apple Watch; Jeanne Federspille from Montgomery scored an iHome AutoVac; Cullman’s Sister Sherrie L. Brainard snagged the Apple AirPods and Carla Crafton out of Huntsville took home the Roku streaming stick. 

On Monday, April 22, Bloomin’ Festival Arts and Crafts Fair posted to Facebook:

“What a weekend it’s been at the 40th Annual Bloomin’ Festival!

“A huge shoutout to the incredible teamwork of our students, parents, faculty, alumni, Cullman Police Department, EMA, and community volunteers involved who worked tirelessly throughout the entire weekend to make this event a roaring success! Despite the rain and cold weather, the spirit of camaraderie shone through, making this festival one to remember.

“From setting up booths to ensuring the safety and smooth running of the event, each and every one of you played a vital role in creating such a vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere. Your dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed, and we are immensely grateful for your efforts.

“Together, we have shown that nothing can dampen our spirits when we come together as a community with a common goal. Thank you for making the 40th Annual Bloomin’ Festival a truly unforgettable experience! Let us continue to cherish these moments of unity and celebration. Here are to many more successful festivals in the future!”

The next St. Bernard festival is Bernard Blues & BBQ, to be held Sept. 7-8, 2024. Find more information at www.stbernardprep.com/bernard-blues-bbq.

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