Corn Fest guide

By Rachel Scaman

The Huskies will sport custom Corn Fest jerseys during this year’s first football home game today.

Corn Fest is a free annual music festival that runs Friday-Sunday on Lincoln Highway between First and Fourth streets.


The jerseys will be auctioned off to raise money to benefit three charities Voluntary Action Center of DeKalb, Boy Scout Troop 33 and the Canaday family.

• The Voluntary Action Center of DeKalb is an organization composed of volunteers throughout DeKalb County. The Voluntary Action Center of DeKalb provides transportation and meals for seniors and people with disabilities.

The group’s public transportation facility and community kitchen are located at 1606 Bethany Road.

• Troop 33 is a program for boys grades six through 12. Their service opportunities include local community service and national disaster relief projects.

• Christopher Canaday, an eighth grader at Clinton Rosette Middle School, was born with pulmonary atresia, a heart defect that has made his right ventricle nonfunctional. Christopher’s father, Mark Canaday, has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Proceeds go toward providing for the family.

History, changes

Corn Fest Chairperson Lisa Angel said Corn Fest has been around since 1977 when Del Monte Foods started giving away free corn after the harvest.

The festival is a good way to bring NIU and DeKalb together, Angel said.

“This is a perfect example of communiversity,” Angel said. “People who have moved away still come back for Corn Fest.”

Angel said downtown stores started doing sidewalk sales soon after Del Monte Foods started giving away corn, then musical attractions, vendors and carnivals were added.

“Corn Fest is one of the last free fests you can go to besides the beer garden, which is $5 per day,” Angel said.

“One things that is different this year is that there will be shuttles that will pick people up from the Aurora and Elburn train stations and take them” to Corn Fest. “It’s great for people who have family coming.”

Community members

Kari Sulaver, owner of Northern Illinois Dance Center, said her dance students have been performing at Corn Fest for five years.

“It’s a great venue, and the kids really enjoy being a part of it,” Sulaver said.

Sulaver said she is happy with the change in location of the festival. Last year, the festival location was changed from the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport to its current downtown location. Corn Fest used to be held downtown, but then moved to the airport when the four-year renovation on downtown started. The fest was held at the airport 2008-to 2012.

“You see a lot more people at Corn Fest” now that it’s back downtown, Sulaver said.

Angel said there are more than 200 people volunteering this year. Blake Benzo, junior finance major and member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, said he is volunteering at the festival with his fraternity brothers.

“I’m going to Corn Fest because I want to get the Greeks more involved in the community and I feel this is the perfect event for that,” Benzo said.

Road closures

The first of a series of road and parking lot closures began Tuesday in preparation for Corn Fest. The city lots of Glidden, Ellwood and Haish, as well as the parking lots of Ronan-Moore-Finch Funeral Home and Frontier Communications will be closed until Sunday.

Starting Thursday are closures for Lincoln Highway between First and Fourth streets, Locust Street between Second and Fourth streets, Second Street from the railroad tracks north of Oak Street and Third Street from the railroad tracks north of Oak Street. First State Bank drive-through customers will be able to access Locust Street until noon Saturday.

The City Lots at Fourth and Grove and Second and Grove, and street parking on Locust Street to the East of Fourth Street will be available during the festival.