It's not all about corn at the Sugar Grove Corn Boil festival.
The 44th year features several new events -- based on resident suggestions -- to keep it fresh, starting with the opening day parade.
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If you goWhat: The 44th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil festival featuring music, kids events and food vendors.
When: 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 29; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 30; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 31.
Where: The park behind the John Sheilds elementary school, off Route 47 and Main Street, Sugar Grove.
Costs: Admission is free; additional costs for carnival rides and food items.
Details: For more information, call 630-455-5166 or visit sugargrovecornboil.org.
The festival, in the park behind John Shields elementary school, kicks off on Friday, July 29 and runs through Sunday, July 31. The opening ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The festival is opened from 4-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The theme this year is volunteerism, starting with the parade, which features community volunteers.
"We have totally expanded or revamped our opening ceremonies," said Jerry Swatek, events and entertainment chairman. "We're just kicking it up a notch and having a parade to honor the different groups and people."
The parade consists of musical entertainment and a special presentation in honor of active Sugar Grove resident and volunteer Bob Carroll, who died last December.
The parade will end with the raising of the Corn Boil flag, representing the start of the festival.
Steven Ekker, president of the Corn Boil, said organizers are always trying to think of new ideas to make each year different.
"We're always looking for new things and new ideas that will hopefully be fun and encourage the patrons to show up each year," Ekker said.
Working in the information booth last year, Ekker heard many residents asking for the carnival to be opened earlier. With those suggestions in mind, the carnival is now open at 11 a.m. instead of noon.
In addition to the usual musical entertainment, food vendors and beer garden, the Corn Boil committee has brought back mini contests such as best mustache or craziest hair. These will happen when a new band is setting up, which takes around 20 minutes.
Also during that time patrons can compete in "minute to win it" contests.
"This year we've decided to have fun contests just to keep things interesting," Ekker said. "We thought it would be fun for kids, and it's very important to us for the event to be kid-friendly."
Specifically for the kids is the kids zone that includes events like an ice cream eating contest, a presentation by the Kane County S.W.A.T team and appearances by Blues Clues, SpongeBob and Boots the Monkey from Dora Explorer.
A new event featured for kids is a performance by the CircEsteem group which like a Cirque du Soleil act. After the presentation the performers will have a hands-on workshop for the kids to demonstrate how they do the acrobatic moves.
To continue the goal of putting on a festival that the residents want, workers will hand out surveys to get some feedback.
"We try very hard to listen to what residents want," Swatek said. "We try to be as responsive as we can and to what the community wants."
Despite all the new events and activities the festival still goes back to its roots of selling corn. This year the committee ordered 11,000 ears for the estimated 25,000 attendees.
"It's a heck of a lot of fun," Swatek said. "You can't beat all the activities that are going to happen. Lots of people come out, there is a lot to do and lots to see."
For information, call (630) 466-5166 or visit sugargrovecornboil.org.