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Organizers seek Corn Fest's return to downtown DeKalb

Published: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 11:05 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 11:12 p.m. CDT
(Shaw Media file photo)
Mike Craft (left) and Ammar Mahmood (second from right) use silage forks to gather steamed sweet corn for guests at Corn Fest in 2012. Festivals organizers said Friday they plan to return the festival to downtown DeKalb and move it to Labor Day weekend.

DeKALB – After five years at DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, Corn Fest looks set to return to downtown DeKalb.

The festival organizers’ plan also calls for the festival to be moved back a week to Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. The city requested that change in order to avoid placing too much strain on city resources during move-in day for students at Northern Illinois University.

“By moving the date, which really wasn’t possible until this year, we were able to relocate the festival,” Corn Fest chairwoman Lisa Angel said Friday. “Other agencies and businesses have agreed to allow us to use property that will allow us to fit [the festival] into areas that have already been renovated.”

The layout festival organizers are considering should allow the festival to remain downtown indefinitely, Angel said. A map should be available 30 to 60 days after the plan receives approval, she said.

The DeKalb City Council is expected to consider the proposal at its meeting Feb. 11, according a news release from festival organizers.

“We are pleased to have Corn Fest move back to the downtown,” DeKalb City Manager Mark Biernacki said in a written statement. “We were grateful that the committee and the community graciously allowed the temporary relocation of the fest to the airport while the major renovations were underway.

“With that project now complete, we can now welcome the fest back to our new and improved downtown.”

Corn Fest was held for 30 years in downtown DeKalb before renovations in the downtown area led organizers to move it to the airport in 2008.

The festival traditionally has been held on the last full weekend in August, which usually corresponds with move-in day at NIU.

Festival organizers already had been looking at moving the festival back to downtown when they learned in December that the On the Waterfront festival in Rockford would not continue in 2013.

“Many festival vendors have their schedules set for an entire year, and no two major festivals ever want to compete for attendees,” Angel said. “When they announced they were no longer going to have a festival, we knew this was our chance to make the change.”

The proposed changes will allow the festival to return to its roots and still allow NIU students to attend, Angel said.

“We never said it was never going back downtown,” Angel said. “... We appreciate the city working with us to make this possible.”

Up next

DeKalb City Council members will consider festival organizers’ proposal at their next meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 11, at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.Voice your opinion

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