2011 Corn Fest location causes mixed emotions

By Eric Beesley

DeKALB | DeKalb’s annual Corn Fest has attracted mixed feelings from downtown area merchants about its 2011 location.

The festival moved to the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, 3232 Pleasant St., in 2008 because of construction in the downtown area. Since 1977, the festival had been located downtown in various locations around Lincoln Highway and Second Street.

Some local store owners had mixed feelings on the relocation of the festival.

“With all the new construction and the plight of the economy it was smart for the city to move it to the field,” said Mary Wilson, owner of the Hillside Restaurant, 121 N. Second St. “It is appropriate to have Corn Fest in an actual corn field.”

Wilson supports moving the festival out of the downtown area, saying that they were forced to shut down during the three days of the festival before its move in 2008.

“They put outside vendors in front of the store who took all the business away from us,” Wilson said.

Lisa Angel, Corn Fest’s publicity director, feels that there are plenty of positives for holding the festival at the airport and it will be held there indefinitely.

“As of right now, it is working and the city saves nearly $20,000 each year by holding the festival at the airport,” Angel said. “Other positives include that a shuttle bus drives from the student center to the airport every 20 minutes for free and the dates have been moved back a week. This way it won’t be going on during move-in week and more students will be able to go.”

Angel said that parking at the airport is easier and since there is more room, people in attendance do not feel as crowded.

Chris Stanley, decorator and designer at the House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, feels differently about the move.

“We want to see it come back to the downtown area because it’s good for business,” Stanley said. “That’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it should be now.”

According to Stanley, business on the days of the fest was always improved because of all the people walking around downtown and outside the front window.

“Those three days brought in a lot of business and it would be cool to have a ton of people packed outside again,” Stanley said.