Corn just might steal the show this year at Blackberry Farm's Fall Harvest.
Corn-shelling demonstrations, a corn cob doll-making station and a corn boil offering corn on the cob and cornbread will highlight harvest happenings from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at the farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora.
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But what, exactly, is corn shelling?
Early Americans would harvest corn at the end of the summer, then let some of it dry out for a while, said Laureen Baumgartner, a recreation supervisor for the Fox Valley Park District, which owns and manages the farm.
Then enters the sheller itself.
"It's a machine that takes the corn off the cob," Baumgartner said.
Then the kernels can be roughly ground into food for animals or finely ground to be used in recipes for human palates.
But what about the part that can't be eaten -- the cobs? At the Fall Harvest, at least, they can be transformed into corn cob dolls.
"Little kids can make corn cob dolls with their parents' help," Baumgartner said.
All these corn-related activities, and other harvest fun offered at the event, are designed to take visitors back to the 1840s, Baumgartner said. Everything except food from the corn boil is free with daily admission to the farm, which is $3.75 for residents of the Fox Valley Park District's service area in Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora, and $6 for nonresidents.
Historical re-enactors will demonstrate how to churn butter at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Wagner House inside the farm; folk musician Chris Vallillo will play in town square from 1 to 3 p.m.; and a silversmith will be stationed in town square throughout the afternoon.
"He shows people how to make silver jewelry like they would have done back then," Baumgartner said.
Last year, about 600 visitors dropped by for a hands-on harvest, Baumgartner said. This year's visitors will leave after a look into the pioneer lifestyle -- with a side of corn.
"It's a folksy time," Jeff Long, Fox Valley Park District spokesman, said about the event. "It's designed to be like what a pioneer harvest was like."