City prepares for Corn Fest’s new location


Callie Beckford, 31, of DeKalb hands out free DeKalb corn during the Corn Boil held at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport during Corn Fest on August 25, 2012.

By Ali Combs

Organizers are optimistic about Corn Fest’s move back downtown.

Corn Fest provides free music and entertainment to the DeKalb community to wrap up summer. This is one of the last free summer music festivals in Illinois as well as one of the oldest, according to the official Corn Fest website,

The festival has been held at DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport the past five years due to renovations in downtown DeKalb, but it will return to its home on Aug. 30.

“Corn Fest has always been a downtown event,” said Corn Fest chairperson Lisa Angel. “We had to look at alternative options when the four-year renovation with Re:New [DeKalb] started downtown. Corn Fest has been at the airport for five years now, but we’re excited to see it return to downtown….”

The airport is part of the public works department for the city, but Public Works Director T.J. Moore said the event is more community-oriented when it’s held downtown.

“We’re very excited that Corn Fest is moving back into downtown…,” Moore said. “At the airport, it’s a very static environment. When it moves downtown it’s more downtown-oriented and people can use downtown businesses and restaurants, and it’s just a different kind of event.”

The festival, which normally takes place during the move-in events at NIU, had to be moved to Labor Day weekend to in order to be held downtown, but Angel thinks Corn Fest will only benefit from this change.

“In order to move back to downtown, we had to move the dates to Labor Day weekend,” Angel said. “Previously, it was always during move in for students, but this way students will have some time to settle in and have something to do over the weekend.”

Until this year, On the Waterfront, a music festival, was held in Rockford over Labor Day weekend. Angel said it worked out well that On the Waterfront will not be held this year, opening up Labor Day weekend and eliminating some competition.

Mayor-elect John Rey said he will welcome Corn Fest back into the downtown area, and he thinks the festival is better for the community as a whole when it is in the middle of the city.

“I’m pleased to see it moving back downtown,” Rey said. “I think it affords the opportunity for a number of non-profits to participate and for people to enjoy the activities around Corn Fest in a very comfortable setting.”

Angel said at least one bus route will act as a shuttle for students to get to Corn Fest easily and freely.