The textbook definition of tradition is, “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.”
For many Sun Prairie residents, the annual Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival is one such tradition.
Many kids grew up riding the midway rides, eating steamy sweet corn on the hill overlooking the Family Entertainment Stage and sneaking a listen to the bands in the beer tent.
Later, they worked on the grounds clean-up crew until they joined one of the service organizations working the grounds and perhaps dumped the huge containers of steamed sweet corn cobs onto the conveyor belt. There, rubber-gloved volunteers placed the hot cobs in the cardboard totes for “cornsumption.”
It’s a festival that celebrates Sun Prairie’s connection with agriculture, especially to its past as a destination for farmers to sell their peas, corn and beans to be canned at the former Stokely Canning Co. plant.
The building that housed that plant is now The Nitty Gritty bar and grill at 315 E. Linnerud Drive, and has plenty of historic canning company photos inside.
Sun Prairie has a great traditional festival.
That is, until COVID-19 hit the United States. Like other food-themed events throughout the U.S., COVID-19 canceled the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival.
The decision hurt the local organizations that fundraise most of their revenue from the annual festival.
And Corn Fest visitors were clamoring for corn.
So the chamber leadership began thinking and looking at the success of some of the drive-through tap room events in Sun Prairie and around the area. Their conclusion was to attempt such an event with this year’s Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival.
Patrons will enter the Angell Park Grounds from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and receive an order form, mark the order form to get everything from Sun Prairie Stronger beer to the steamed sweet corn, then stay in their car to advance through the line.
Patrons will pay for the items on their order form, then, once at the front of the line, their order will be filled and placed in the back of their vehicles before they depart.
It may not be a tradition most people are used to, but it’s a way to present the annual Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival so it continues for others to enjoy in the future.
We hope our readers will check out our special Corn Fest section on pages B4-B6 in this issue, then get their wallets and vehicles ready.
We’ll see you at Corn Fest!