DeKALB – In four weeks, thousands of people will pour into the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport as it hosts Corn Fest for a second year.
Shawn Lowe, festival chairman, is hoping for a big turnout, especially for the musical lineup. Lady Antebellum will be headlining the event with a Sunday afternoon show. The country trio from Nashville just had its first No. 1 single last week, which Lowe said couldn't have been better timing as the DeKalb festival approaches.
Already, area hotels have been getting calls from fans far and wide wanting to book rooms for the weekend, Lowe said.
Two changes will be made to the layout of the festival, airport Manager Tom Cleveland said.
The beer garden will be split in half, with a family section on one side so that children and parents can get close to the stage without being in the beer garden.
Also, food vendors will be on the south end of the ramp so that picnic tables can be set up in the grassy area nearby.
"I think it'll be a lot better with some of the changes we did," Cleveland said.
Like last year, the airport will offer aircraft on display and rides for festival patrons. Rides will be given on both a biplane and a helicopter. The biplane has an open cockpit and can seat four in the front, so that it's "just you and the air," Lowe said.
New this year on display will be a C-47 Skytrain, a World War II plane that marked the beginning of commercial aviation. It could carry 27 passengers, which the U.S. military saw as useful for carrying paratroopers and cargo.
The C-47 is flying in from St. Louis, Cleveland said, and is the oldest C-47 still flying in its original configuration. The Cold War-era MiG 23 will be on display for the second year, Cleveland said.
The festival's Saturday lunchtime specialty is the corn boil, with free sweet corn being trucked in by the semi-load between 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Corn Fest board of directors renamed the corn boil in honor of Chuck Siebrasse, a lifelong DeKalb resident and community leader who served as chairman of the corn boil for 25 years and who died in February.
"It was a no-brainer" to introduce the Chuck Siebrasse Corn Boil, Lowe said.
Free shuttle buses will leave every half-hour from the Northern Illinois University Holmes Student Center and stopping on the corner of Second Street and Lincoln Highway before arriving at the airport. Buses will also stop at Clinton-Rosette Middle School, where the fourth annual craft fair will be held to support music programs in DeKalb schools.
Historian Steve Bigolin will give free one-hour bus tours around DeKalb, highlighting pieces of DeKalb's past along the way. Tours depart from the shuttle bus area at the airport.
On Saturday morning, all ages can participate in several races – a 3K walk/run, 10K run and Diaper Derby and Toddler Trot. Rounding out the weekend activities are a bike rally, car show, carnival, food booths and a variety of musical acts.
In 2008, Corn Fest moved from its longstanding location in downtown DeKalb to the airport as the city embarked on a major street and sidewalk project. Because construction is being phased each year through 2011, it's unclear what venue will be chosen in 2010, Lowe said. A decision will likely be made after this year's event wraps up.
For the second year, downtown businesses and restaurants will be hosting a Cornstruction Fest Sidewalk Sale with deals throughout the weekend. The hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 21, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 22, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 23.
For more information on Corn Fest and for a schedule of events, visit www.cornfest.com.