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Lifestyle

Two DeKalb men named to board of Corn Fest Inc.

DeKALB - In action taken at a recent Corn Fest Inc. board meeting, membership was increased from 11 to 13. The new board members are Chuck Lundgren and Darien Westerfield. Lundgren is a long-standing member of the DeKalb community, has served on the DeKalb School Board and has past involvement with the Knights of Columbus. He will find volunteers for the festival and organize their efforts. Westerfield is relatively new to the DeKalb area and works at Northern Illinois University as the assistant director of athletic development for the Huskies. The board also decided to add DeKalb Park District Executive Director Dave Mogle to the board as an ex-officio member. According to Chairman Tom Goyke, the ties between Corn Fest Inc. and the DeKalb Park District are many and important to a successful festival, and this relationship is now strengthened by this formal board position. Another Corn Fest activity going on is the completion of the sponsorship flier that has gone out to past-year sponsors and potential new sponsors. Lisa Wilcox, Sponsorship Committee chair, said that "sponsorship is important to the success of Corn Fest, and without the support of our area business community, we wouldn't have been able to provide free quality entertainment to DeKalb for the past 25 years." According to Goyke, vendor booth space applications were mailed out recently. "Last year we had the largest number of booths registered at any previous Corn Fest," Goyke said. "The number totaled 125. This year we hope to even surpass last year's numbers." The applications also will be available at the Corn Fest Inc. Web site at www.cornfest.org. "The positioning of over 125 booths is one of the most challenging tasks of Corn Fest," Goyke said. "We try hard to get everyone their first choice location." Many of the past activities of Corn Fest Inc. will continue to be part of this year's festival. Bryan Klatt and Chuck Siebrasse will coordinate the corn-related activities such as the corn boil. The location of the corn boil is currently in discussion. As it did last year, Del Monte will donate the free corn. Many volunteers make this three-hour corn giveaway possible. Windy City Amusements again will provide rides, games and concessions all weekend. Corn Fest again will feature the 10K race, Diaper Derby, bike rally, Auto Fest, Craft Fest, Kids Fest, Art Fest, corn creations, historical tours and community stage. Entertainment on the main stage is being evaluated by Shawn Lowe, chairman of the Entertainment Committee. Lowe said he is receiving band demo tapes every week. The bands are one of the last Corn Fest matters confirmed, as it helps to see what kind of sponsorship and vendor booth revenue is expected before money is committed for the entertainment. Lowe also is on the lookout for a national sponsor for the main stage closing act. After last year's rainy Saturday, which was the main reason for the 2004 Corn Fest's financial losses, the board is reviewing all of its revenue and expense decisions to ensure financial success and a positive cash flow for this year's festival. "We lost $10,000 when our budget was set to make $15,000," Goyke said. "Our revenue drop caused by Saturday's weather really hurt us. There is a fine line between financial success and failure. Weather and music are the most important elements to our financial success. The public needs to know that Corn Fest is totally funded by sponsorship, vendor booth space, a percentage of carnival proceeds and beer garden admissions and beer sales. "Corn Fest Inc. gets no direct funds from the city or vendor food proceeds," he continued. "What you make one year is used the following year as seed money to cover early expenses. It's good when the weather is good, and can be real tough when the weather does not cooperate. Hopefully this will be a good-weather Corn Fest weekend." For more details, visit www.cornfest.org.

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