SUGAR GROVE – A weekend of music, kid-friendly activities and food is headed to Sugar Grove.
The Sugar Grove Corn Boil gets underway with carnival rides starting at 5 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, the rest of the festival gets going with an opening parade and community ceremony. The Corn Boil is at 61 Main St., in Sugar Grove.
The first band, 7th Heaven, hits the stage at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday and Sunday will be filled with activities, starting with a 5K run at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, with highlights including the Bob Bohler Memorial Fireworks Show at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
On Sunday, bands performing Christian-based music will take the stage. There also will be contests and bingo throughout the weekend. There will be food served, including the festival’s signature dish, corn.
Louise Coffman is in her first year as the event’s president. She previously was in charge of the of the parking and the free shuttles at the Corn Boil. She encouraged visitors to park at the Sugar Grove Public Library, at 125 S. Municpal Drive in Sugar Grove, and ride to the festival in a shuttle.
She said the festival is special because so much fun can be had for free. The festival features a kids zone Saturday and Sunday, with attractions, such as Dave Herzog’s Marionettes, Ronald McDonald, the Dave DiNaso Traveling World of Reptiles and the Scott Piner Magic Show. There also is an ice cream-eating contest.
“The kid zone is absolutely free,” Coffman said. “The ice cream-eating contest is free, and those kids can go and have fun and win a medal.”
She said the festival’s community connection. At 5 p.m. Friday, the festival will welcome local entrants in the parade. That will be followed by an annual ceremony that includes the naming of the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year, as well as the Donna Marcus Scholarships. This year, veterans of the Vietnam War are invited to the parade as part of a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the end of the war.
“It’s just a nice way to say thank you,” said Dave Paluch, who works to organize the opening ceremonies.
Coffman also touted the festival’s music attractions. On Friday and Saturday, the entertainment includes local bands such, as 7th Heaven, Ethan Bell, Eric Von, Talk of the Town, RockStar Rodeo and Hi-Infidelity.
On Sunday, the festival continues its tradition of booking Christian rock bands with significant followings. For instance, Sidewalk Prophets, a band that performs at 4 p.m. Sunday, had more than 476,000 likes on Facebook as of Tuesday afternoon.
“They’re a huge band,” she said. “And it’s free. Some of these guys, you can’t really see them for free.”
Other Sunday performers will be Graveyards to Gardens at noon, Citizen Way at 1:30 p.m. and Waves at 3 p.m.
Coffman stressed a key festival mission – providing local organizations fundraising opportunities. She said there is a perception by some that it is a festival put on by the village, which she said is not the case.
Festival organizers allow organizations to run certain aspects of the event. For instance, groups take turns manning the bingo tent.
Money collected will go to the groups. Coffman said the festival itself collects money from donations and sales of corn and hot dogs, which funds the festival events and also goes toward local charities. She said the festival has been able to donate nearly $30,000 to charitable organizations during the past two years.
“We’re keeping it all in the community,” she said.
On the Web
A complete schedule of events for the Sugar Grove Corn Boil can be found online at www.sugargrovecornboil.org.