The theme for this Saturday’s Corn Festival is Harvest Moon, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the first walk on the moon. The biggest show of this theme will be the parade which starts at 10:30 a.m.
Gary and Gail Phipps have been named grand marshals of the parade, which will start at the corner of Main Street and Brookside Drive. It will head south on Main Street and turn right on Dodge Street, ending at Munson Road.
With over 70 entries, there will be approximately 15 decorated floats competing in float judging, with 15 additional local businesses participating, nine marching bands, four dance or baton units, many school and community organizations, and the Zenobia Shriners, according to Pam Kazmierczak, parade chair.
Located along the parade route, Trinity United Methodist Church, 210 N. Main St., will be starting the festival day with a breakfast from 7-10 a.m.
Following the parade, action heats up in Memorial Park.
“The Swanton Corn Festival is the perfect way to spend a full day enjoying the spectacular parade, a variety of food, continuous entertainment on three stages, air rides for kids, and a popular classic car show,” said Alan Robasser, Corn Festival chairman. “On top of all that, I believe some of the best things are smiling faces, seeing past and present friends, and making new acquaintances. Whether relaxing at one of the many picnic tables spread throughout the park or strolling around, you can’t help but strike up conversations.”
New this year will be the Battle of the Bands. Passing the first round of auditions and performing on Stage 2, which is located by the lower beer garden to the east of Elton Parkway, will be Shifferly Road Band, Rukus, Rock Tonic Toledo, and Stirred Not Shaken.
Many of the annual entertainers will be back this year including Slim, Ragtime Rick and the Chef’s of Dixieland, Johnny Rodriguez, Patrick’s Magic, and Bob Wurst. Stage 1 is located to the west of the open pavilion.
Featured entertainment, starting 8 p.m. in the main beer garden, will be returning Renegade Lemonade, which plays favorites from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and now. The main beer garden is located at the upper ball diamond.
Swanton Rec and High School cheerleaders take to Stage 2 at noon. There will also be a corn eating contest and a Swanton Trivia Game.
The volleyball tournament and Pharaoh’s Car Show both begin at 9 a.m. A corn hole tournament for those 21 and over will start at 4:30 p.m. in the upper beer garden.
Also new this year will be the ride provider. “Air Extreme Ohio will be supplying more colorful and updated rides and activities than what was previously found at the festival,” said Kazmierczak.
Other attractions include Swanton Band’s duck race, craft vendors, food booths, and merchant booths.
Robasser said that. considering the expenses of putting on a one-day event, the Corn Festival does not typically return a heavy profit, though it has continued to be sustainable of the years.
“You can win or lose very easily depending on the weather conditions and attendance in that one day,” he said. “Major costs for the festival include tent, table, and chair rentals, bands for the parade, and entertainment. Our sponsors are greatly appreciated and help provide the opportunity to maintain success.”
The Corn Festival also relies on many volunteers. The National Honor Society provides helpers, and this year the Swanton football team is assisting with set-up and tear-down.
“We also take pride in giving back to the community whenever possible. For example, with recent contributions to the electronic sign and new sound system in Memorial Park,” said Robasser. “As park improvements progress, the hope is to be involved with upgrades and enhancements.”
Although the main festival is Saturday, there is an option to get the fun started early with the 11th Annual All Class Reunion. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the main beer garden and is open to the public.
Slim will perform from 8-10 p.m. and DJ Vinnie Towell will entertain before and after.
It is a 21 and over event with a $5 cover charge. Parking is free on Friday.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010