FAIRBORN – The steamer that will prepare the sweet corn as it has for more than 30 years will whistle at 11 a.m. Saturday, officially marking the beginning of the Sweet Corn Festival. This year it will feature its traditional family-friendly activities, such as the corn-eating contest, AVA Volksmarch, arts and crafts, entertainment and 115 vendors.
Sweet Corn Festival Committee Chairperson Warren Brown has been involved with the event since its beginning in 1982. He will start the festival by addressing the crowd, introducing the festival’s king and queen and allowing them to cut the ribbon.
“It provides an event where the family can come eat, look and buy crafts and get information,” Brown said. “They don’t have to leave town, and it’s right before school so it’s a good time to get family together.”
This year’s Sweet Corn Festival King and Queen is Leroy Farthing and Ellen Slone-Farthing. Traditionally selected by the Fairborn Lions Club, the festival has featured a king and queen each year since it has taken place.
“Hopefully they’ll feel good about the food they ate, find some bargains in the arts and crafts they can take home, and being together with their family,” Brown said. “It’s so hard to have families come together anymore, so they can [come and] enjoy a few hours together.”
The Sweet Corn Festival earned its name by the amount of corn that stretches across the area. Brown said a corn field formally sat where the Fairfield Mall in Fairborn is currently located. Its first festival took place at the Fairborn Lions Den, followed by the land by Central Junior High School. Each year since, the festival has been held at Fairborn Community Park with this year being no exception.
Its activities are uniform compared to the festivals that have taken place in the past, although Brown said the vendors are varied according to what the other’s are offering. Although this year, they will be reintroducing festival t-shirts for sale and offering bags with the logo printed across it for the first time.
The committee is additionally considering implementing leveled sponsorship in the future.
“We want to provide a fair in town so they can go eat their sweet corn and chicken,” he said. “We have all kinds of other food vendors and it’s a real variety. That’s one of the things we do – if you wanted to come and be a food vendor, if you do what someone else does, we won’t bring you in so we get a mixture.”
The festival has been in the planning stages over the course of the last year. Brown said by the end of the month, the committee will hold a meeting in which they will reflect on this year’s event. They meet on a regular basis in the months preceding the event, and Brown said they will begin planning for next year’s Sweet Corn Festival no later than November.
It will take place beginning at 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, until it picks back up the following day at 11 a.m. and wrapping up by 6 p.m. at Community Park.