Sweet weekend for Champaign-Urbana

By Courtney Klemm

Twenty thousand ears of sweetcorn and 450 pounds of butter will overrun downtown Urbana this weekend as the community enjoys its 30th Annual Sweetcorn Festival.

“One of the cool things about the festival is it brings a lot of different kinds of people out,” said Mary Dennis, business manager for the Urbana Business Association and coordinator of the event. “Everyone who wants to be involved can. We really push the corn, but we also have many other food vendors present.”

The sweetcorn festival begins tonight and runs from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. and continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The center of activities is to take place at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Avenue.

The festival will feature a variety of events, including a dog show at the Civic Center, a book sale in Lincoln Square Village, children’s activities such as pony rides and a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and a car show called Motor Muster.

“The (car) show is a great opportunity for the public to see cars they wouldn’t normally see,” said Mike Balogh, publicity and event organizer for the Illini Collector Car Club. “We have a nice variety of cars that wouldn’t be shown at an average car show.”

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    The car show, which will be located in the County Plaza lot on Main Street on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., also involves awards, including viewers voting on their favorite cars. The cars come from throughout the region, with the oldest one dating back to 1912 and the newest from 1980. Rare cars from various cities, including Chicago and Phoenix, will be transported for the event.

    An estimated 30,000 people attended the festival last year and an increase in attendance is expected this year, Dennis said.

    The origin of the corn varies each year depending on harvest, she said. This year, the corn was donated by Wal-mart.

    Trenton Rader, sophomore in ACES, said he worked at the festival last year, helping to shuck and clean the corn. Rader said he was impressed by the turnout and is looking forward to attending again.

    “Seeing everyone in the community come out for the event was really great,” Rader said. “It was nice knowing I could be a part of it. The festival has a really positive impact on the community. “

    The festival provides a variety of great entertainment for the people of the Champaign-Urbana community and surrounding areas, Balogh said.

    “It’s a nice way to show off the town,” he said. “There’s a lot of things for young children to do this year. It’s a really nice family event.”