Classic Cullman 2017 - Page 89

Classic Cullman / SOUTHERN ROOTS strawberry fest: A Berry Historic Festival By Trent Moore Though it’s only now seeing a resurgence that could put it on the same level as the much-larger Oktoberfest, Cullman’s Strawberry Festival is actually the oldest fest in the area’s history — a highlight of Cullman County’s role as a strawberry producer for the past century. The Cullman Strawberry Festival dates back to the 1940s and 1950s, when Cullman County was largely known for its strawberry production. In those days, the festival was a week-long DIIDLUDSDUDGHZLWKʐRDWVDVWUDZEHUU\TXHHQDQGPDQ\RWKHU festivities. But as time went on, the festival waned and was eventually discontinued, despite some halting efforts to revive it in the 1990s. cullman county museum But local leaders recognized the appeal of the agri-tourism movement, and knew the Strawberry Festival represented an authentic piece of local history that deserved preservation. So, in the 2000s, the Strawberry Festival came back. Since then, the festival has been hosted at the Festhalle Market Platz farmers market along First Avenue downtown. The resurgent event is gaining steam once again, and enjoyed its largest year yet in 2016. The two-day festival brought thousands of visitors to downtown Cullman’s Warehouse District, where kids played in the daytime and grown-ups lingered to enjoy the nighttime entertainment. In addition to keeping the focus on agriculture, the Cullman Parks and Recreation department has introduced a live-music element, providing a spark cullman area chamber of commerce - 89 classic 2016.indd 89 8/31/2016 10:37:36 AM