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Seven area groups receive $25,000 in Corn Fest proceeds

DeKALB - All those Corn Fest beer drinkers helped to fund local nonprofit organizations. Organizers of the annual festival, held in August, were surprised at how much money the event raised this year from the $5 admission fees to the beer tent, food- and vendor-booth rentals and the carnival, according to Corn Fest Board President Don Hawkins. On Wednesday, the board passed out $22,000 in oversized checks to six local nonprofit organizations. The Kishwaukee Youth Football League was presented with a check for $3,000 last month. &#8220On behalf of the DeKalb Corn Fest Board Inc. board of directors I am pleased to announce that there was a unanimous vote to donate monetary contributions to the following not-for-profit organizations providing services to the community of DeKalb and surrounding communities in the area,” Hawkins said during a ceremony at the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. In some previous years, the board had only enough money to donate to one organization, but more funds have been raised recently to help more organizations. &#8220We were surprised at how much we made, and everyone on the board agreed to contribute to more than one organization,” Hawkins said. Last year, the board donated to Main Street DeKalb Inc., Northern Illinois University athletics and Hurricane Katrina victims, he said. This year, Boy Scout Troop 33, Three Fires Council, was among the seven groups that received a check. The group got $3,000. &#8220The troop provides ice to many of the vendors and exhibitors during the Corn Fest event,” Hawkins said. &#8220With motivational goals of trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent, this organization has provided a growing and learning experience for youth in DeKalb.” Scoutmaster Cliff Golden has been the troop's leader for about 30 years. He said the boys have been participating in Corn Fest since 1987. The troop's 35 to 40 boys sell ice to vendors and food booths and help the Knights of Columbus clean up the beer garden. Golden said the money will likely be used to purchase camping tents the boys had planned on getting last year; they instead bought duct tape to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. &#8220This puts back the money we took out for that,” he said. &#8220Karma. What goes around comes around.” Voluntary Action Center received $3,500. The organization provided buses for a history tour and to shuttle shoppers to an arts and crafts show at Clinton Rosette Middle School during Corn Fest. VAC provides transportation and meals to homebound people. VAC Executive Director Tom Zucker said the funding will help the group raise more money through federal and state matching grants. &#8220In a sense, they've doubled their money,” Zucker said. ReNew DeKalb, formerly Main Street DeKalb, received a check for $3,500. The organization works with downtown businesses to attract shoppers and host promotional events. &#8220Corn Fest invades and disrupts the normal daily activities of every business in town for three days,” Hawkins said. &#8220Corn Fest Inc. wants to continue to build our relations with all the current and future business located in our community.” The Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre Inc. received the largest amount, $5,000. The organization is in the process of updating the theater and doing renovations. Hawkins said the Corn Fest board was happy to see the marquee at the theater read &#8220Welcome to Corn Fest 2006” this year. Egyptian Theatre Operations Director Alex Nerad said the P.E.T. board will decide where the money goes. &#8220It's always nice to get money you weren't expecting,” he said. The other two organizations that received money are Safe Passage, which helps victims of domestic violence, and the Hope Haven homeless shelter. Aracely Hernandez can be reached at

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