When the annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil began 45 years ago, the town had just been incorporated, and its population was in the hundreds, not the thousands.
Much of the festival's corn was grown by the very same hands who gathered to eat it, and, oh yeah, the corn was boiled in the boiler of an old steam engine.
If you goWhat: Sugar Grove Corn Boil
When: 6-11 p.m. Friday, July 27; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, July 28; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, July 29
Where: Volunteer Park, 61 Main St., Sugar Grove
Admission: Free; food and activity costs vary
Details: Visit sugargrovecornboil.org or call (630) 466-5166
That's according to the memory of former Sugar Grove resident Ken Klomhaus. Klomhaus, who moved to Sun City, Ariz., 10 years ago, was part of the original Young Adult Club of Sugar Grove around the time of the first Corn Boil. He and his wife Darr Lynn now venture back to Sugar Grove for the annual event to get together with old friends from the Young Adult Club and will be present Friday at the opening of the Corn Boil.
The 2012 Sugar Grove Corn Boil will celebrate 45 years from Friday through Sunday, July 27-29, at Volunteer Park. From the opening ceremonies parade Friday to the 5K run/walk Saturday and firefighter water fights Sunday, this is not the same Corn Boil that debuted in 1967, but Klomhaus said the principle of "community first" is still evident.
"The Young Adult Club was a social group … but we learned community service," he said, mentioning the community center the organization used and added onto. "It was way ahead of its time."
The Corn Boil was originally a way to raise funds for the Young Adult Club, which was open to all young couples under 40. The name later changed to the Community Club as to not restrict membership.
The Corn Boil no longer utilizes an old steam train engine to boil its corn -- in fact, more than 10,000 ears of corn are made and consumed each year at the festival. From 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, corn connoisseurs can try their hand at the Corn Boil Cooking Challenge.
Those not as skilled in the kitchen can ride amusements provided by Wilson Family Show and sip on beverages from the beer garden. Vendors from all over will sell their wares at the crafters and business expo all three days while listening to live music from the SoundStage.
The locally based bands at the SoundStage play both secular and Christian music, with cover bands spanning the decades from the 1970s onward.
Saturday's American Legion car show might present the "toys" of choice for some, but for the younger crowd, the KidZone will be the highlight of the fest, providing all-day entertainment ranging from face painting and water balloon throwing to exotic animal and S.W.A.T. team demonstrations.
Admission to the Corn Boil is free, while activities and other food prices vary. For details, visit sugargrovecornboil.org.