Corn Fest moving to downtown DeKalb

By Brooke Shinberg

Corn lovers rejoice: Corn Fest will officially be held at its previous location in downtown DeKalb after a five-year hiatus.

The festival is held yearly and will take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 in historic downtown. For the last five years, it has been hosted at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, 3232 Pleasant St.

“It has always been downtown,” said Corn Fest chairperson Lisa Angel. “It just had to move to the airport because of the four-year revitalization plan.”

The festival was also more expensive when located at the airport, according to Angel.

“The Corn Fest board had to pay for expenses such as light towers in the fields for parking and a free shuttle bus to the airport to transport people,” Angel said. These things aren’t necessary downtown.

On Feb. 11, the City Council members voted on the location of Corn Fest and decided to bring it back to downtown DeKalb.

“I think it’s something the community as a whole has been asking for…a couple of years now,” said sixth ward alderman Dave Baker.

Angel said she thinks the festival will bring in the same amount of people, if not more, at its new location.

“More local residents and merchants prefer it downtown,” Angel said. “Others say they liked it at the airport for the plane rides, easy parking and space.” Corn Fest was held downtown for 30 years before the move to the airport.

“Well, I think the Corn Fest committee really did its homework,” said Mayor Kris Povlsen. “They talked to the majority of the merchants.”

Povlsen said the committee is also working well with the city to figure out where each attraction will be placed.

The council moved to close Lincoln Highway between First Street and Fourth Street from Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 to allow Corn Fest to operate, according to a Feb. 11 Northern Star article.

“If the weather is bad, as it has been, it gives the people who go an opportunity to not have to go home,” Baker said. “They can duck into a store or a restaurant in the downtown area.”

Angel said she thinks since Corn Fest will be held over labor day weekend, more people will come out.

“Not a lot of students made it out the last two years,” Baker said. “It’s a way for the university and students to bond with the community.”

Angel said it is at a good time because students are just getting settled in.

“We are just excited to be able to be back downtown,” Angel said.

According to Povlsen, the city always planned on evaluating whether the festival should be moved back to the downtown area.

“If it doesn’t go well this year then we will evaluate whether we should move it back to the airport,” Povlsen said. “We will see how it goes this year. It’s always good to be flexible.”