City is 'all in on Christmas': Christkindlmarkt expanding to 18 days

Nov. 1—With Halloween successfully in its rearview mirror, the Cullman City Council is setting its sights on the year's remaining holidays.

Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism Director, Nathan Anderson addressed the council on Monday, Oct. 30, to discuss the department's ongoing preparation for the upcoming opening of this year's Christkindlmarkt. Anderson said, what began as a humble one-day re-creation of a traditional German Christmas market, was expanded to a four-day affair last year, due to the event's growing popularity in the Cullman community. Anderson told the council that CPRST was "all-in on Christmas" announcing this year's event would be expanded to be open for a sprawling 18 days during the course of five weeks.

The Christkindlmarkt grand opening will be held Black Friday, Friday, Nov. 24, to coincide with the official lighting of the weihnachtspyramide — or Christmas pyramid — and will be open each Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon until Dec. 23. Anderson said one of the most exciting things about this year's event, is that more than 75% of its merchants and 80% its food vendors are made up of local business owners.

"We're really excited about all of the local businesses, and some of the brick and mortars in town, that have jumped in and caught the Christkindlmarkt bug and are going all in. It's fun to strategize and work with our locals to make this thing something special," Anderson said.

This year's expanded market will also benefit from a change of venues by moving across Arnold St. to be the first official event held in the newly renovated Depot Park. The larger venue will allow for several new features which CPRST believing it will become a community favorite with the addition of an engineered ice skating rink as well as a Christmas carousel.

Mayor Woody Jacobs shared how crews had finished pouring the last of the park's concrete on Friday, Oct. 20 and were currently constructing the carousel which he said would be "phenomenal."

"The market is going to be unbelievable. We've been to several throughout the United States and Germany and ours will rival anything I've seen. I've seen several and I'm telling you, we're setting the standard, it's going to be really nice," Jacobs said.

Anderson said while the city's Christmas tree will be positioned slightly farther back into Depot Park this year, the annual tree lighting ceremony and annual Christmas parade will still take place at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1. However, in response to the overwhelming popularity of the celebration, Anderson said a second "tree lighting" light show was currently being planned for a later date.

For a more immediate celebration, Cullman Regional Airport director Ben Harrison said it has been "all hands on deck" orchestrating the final preparations for this Saturday's Veteran's Day celebration. Harrison said the first of the event's featured aircrafts will be arriving Friday afternoon and promised an "interesting" set of vehicles, many of which the community have not likely seen before. Harrison expects attendance in the range of 3,000-5,000, and while the airport would not be closing its operations, a formation flight of smaller aircrafts was still planned to take place at some point during the day.

In other business the council:

* Set a public hearing for Nov. 27 for an ordinance to rezone N31, LLC property located at U.S. Hwy. 31 and U.S. Hwy. 157 from B-3 and M-4 to R-4.

* Approved a request from Gervais and Lulu of 117 4th Street SE for a retail table wine off-premises liquor license.

* Approved a special event request from the Cullman Warehouse District merchants to hold a Christmas Open House from Nov. 10-12.

* Awarded the bid for a full-size SUV to Mitch Smith Chevrolet.


* the bid for a large equipment trailer to Equipment Logistics, Inc.

* Approved to utilize the annual surface treatment bid with Chilton Contractors for the CDBG and ARC Co. Rd. 222 project.

* Recognized the CPRST for becoming the first and only agency in Alabama to received the National Gold Medal Award from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

* Amended the position control detail for the City of Cullman by adding a full-time position for Sanitation.

* Delivered its third annual installment of $600,000 to Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff as part of its 10-year $6 million pledges to supports the district's capital improvement projects.