A Corny Time

The annual Corn Festival is an opportunity for downtown Youngsville to host an open house (town). Also, it gets neighbors together from all over Warren County, Erie, Ridgway and Jamestown, N.Y. Sons and daughters return from across the country to the Annual Youngsville Corn Festival, which runs this year from Friday, Aug. 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. through Sunday, Aug. 17.

The festival will consist of entertainment for the whole family with plenty of fun and activities for the kids. There will be free wagon rides, contests, raffles, bands, karaoke, dancing in the street, a bouncing obstacle course, and a parade.

But, the festival also will feature dancing in the street to go with the hot buttery farm-fresh corn on the cob brought in each day from local farmer Ray Shield’s fields especially for the festival

Vendors, such as Love, INC, and churches will set-up a food court selling all-sorts of homespun foods in the street such as homemade chili, corn bread and snow-cones. The Youngsville Fire Department volunteers will again grill tasty chicken barbecue. Plus, festival-goers will partake of delicious corny foods at local restaurants. Fireworks will be sponsored by the Rouse Estate, and there will be historical displays at the Wilder Museum in nearby Irvine. The Brokenstraw Valley Swimming Pool will host a “CornFest Kick-off” Community Swim on Thursday, Aug. 14, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with games, a DJ and food.

Of course, during this downtown festival friends and families will reunite while savoring fresh hot buttery corn on the cob, according to the Revitalization Of Youngsville Committee (ROY) organizers. Any money donated during the festival will cover current festival expenses and be set aside for next year’s festival.

What makes the corn festival so successful

The annual Corn Festival is a community event that allows families and friends to get together in downtown Youngsville, two weeks before school begins. The festival celebrates corn using CORN as an acronym for Celebrate Our Revitalization Now.

Other activities will include live music, kids’ bouncy obstacle course, a parade down Main Street with corn-themed floats, small planes flying over, and other events that reflect the heritage of the Brokenstraw Valley. On Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. there will be a scarecrow contest at the First United Methodist Church grounds. Kids and their families can work together to build a scarecrow that will be judged Sunday. Contestants are asked to bring old clothes, hats, duct tape, broom sticks and their imagination. Straw and help will be available if you ask. Also, for a small donation supplies are available.

Because it promotes unique, country, home town experiences, aimed at boosting community spirit, it is an event that people look forward to attending.

Corny bragging rights

“What makes this (the Corn Festival) parade so wonderful is the small town feeling,” said ROY member Nancy Holmberg. It is a corny parade with so much of the community represented. Most of the town’s churches and many from Youngsville and the surrounding area are in the parade. Mothers and children are welcome to decorate their strollers, kids decorate their bikes, and even pets join in the parade. Over the years, corny floats of every type have been seen parading down Youngsville’s Main Street during the Corn Festival where businesses, churches, and others compete for the chance to establish bragging rights and to win a trophy shaped like an ear of corn. Divisions for the 2014 floats are commercial float, church float, non-profit float, best over-all float, and corniest non-float. All divisions are judged on the cornier the better. The parade will begin at 488 East Main Street nearby the previously owned businesses of Wiggers and Abplanalp’s Dairy Bar. It will end at the Citgo/Dick’s Service Center lot, 3 N. Main.

Corn maze

The Youngsville Corn Maze is always one of the most popular events during the corn festival. It is extremely lucrative as a fundraiser for the revitalization. Youngsville’s pharmacist Ian Ashbaugh has designed the corn maze every year since the start of the corn festivals 9 years ago. He delivers elaborate paths through the maze, some that lead to nowhere, complete with checkpoints to compete in a game. The corn maze is open Friday, August 15 starting at 4 p.m. until dark, Saturday 10 a.m. until dark and Sunday, noon until 3 p.m. Free tractor drawn wagon rides shuttle people to and from the maze from downtown on Friday evening and Saturday. There is no shuttle on Sunday.

Every year new activities are added to the corn festival. But, the essence of the corn festival remains the same. One of the old favorites is the corn eating contest.

Corn eating contest

Admission to the festival is free but some events such as the corn eating contest have a small admission fee. For more information, visit the Corn Central tent downtown Main Street on the days of the festival or call the corn festival chairman Ron Young, 563-4722. Food Vendors, call Barb Luce 563-4936, Craft vendors, call Cherri Watson 563-9235

The festival is organized by the Revitalization Of Youngsville Corn Festival Committee made up of community members, Warren County friends, and business owners. Funding comes from donations from several Warren County businesses and private contributors.

The event will take place rain or shine.

Coordinators will dedicate this year’s corn festival in memory of Helga Laibacher. Her two daughters, Elke and Jeni, will be masters of ceremony and will present the Helga Laibacher Memorial Community Service Award.