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updated: 7/31/2013 4:49 PM

Coon Creek Country Days returns to Hampshire

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  • Corn is prepared in massive quantities last year at Coon Creek Country Days for the free all-you-can-eat corn boil.

       Corn is prepared in massive quantities last year at Coon Creek Country Days for the free all-you-can-eat corn boil.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • Children reach to grab candy as last year's parade winds toward Bruce Ream Park at Coon Creek Country Days in Hampshire.

       Children reach to grab candy as last year's parade winds toward Bruce Ream Park at Coon Creek Country Days in Hampshire.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • Fred Marwig and his daughter, Ashlyn, 6, of Hampshire, can't keep from laughing as their Tilt-a-Whirl car spins at a high rate of speed during last year's Coon Creek Country Days in Hampshire.

       Fred Marwig and his daughter, Ashlyn, 6, of Hampshire, can't keep from laughing as their Tilt-a-Whirl car spins at a high rate of speed during last year's Coon Creek Country Days in Hampshire.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kyla Leonard, 16, of Hampshire finishes off an ear of corn at last year's Coon Creek Country Days.

       Kyla Leonard, 16, of Hampshire finishes off an ear of corn at last year's Coon Creek Country Days.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

 
By Jennifer Tranmer
jtranmer@dailyherald.com

Shortly after Maile Edmonson moved from California to Hampshire in 2010 with her now-husband Don, she was disappointed to learn the annual Coon Creek Country Days might be canceled because of lack of funding and volunteers.

"When we read about it, I said we've got to help because we're part of the community -- this is a festival that's been going on for years," she said.

So, the pair joined in the community effort to revive the festival -- and after three years, they've done just that.

Coon Creek Country Days kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday Bruce Ream Park, 368 Terwilliger Ave.

The annual festival will feature a variety of live music, a beer tent, food, crafters, carnival, fireworks, a parade, road races and a pancake breakfast hosted by the Hampshire Lions.

A series of free events provides families with a fun outing on a budget.

New this year, a corn eating competition 4:30 p.m. Sunday will follow the free all-you-can-eat corn boil.

Edmonson, one of the coordinators, decided to add the new contest because "Every fair needs one," she said.

For bragging rights and a cash prize, competitors will have five minutes to eat every kernel off five cobs. Sign up immediately after the parade -- only the first seven will participate.

Fireworks will light the sky Saturday at dusk, so grab a good spot to check out the annual display.

A variety of bands and local talents will entertain fairgoers throughout the extended weekend with several newcomers, including The Neverly Brothers, Bliss, Boombox Heroes and more.

As in year's past, a share of the profits will go to local charities, like the Burlington-Hampshire Area Food Pantry, the primary recipient of the committee's donations. Edmonson said with the festival's revival, they've been able to increase donations.

With last year's donations, the pantry supplied holiday meals to about 44 families, said Dorothy Paddock, food coordinator for the pantry.

Admission is free and donations are accepted for parking, but there are some opportunities to partake in the fun and give back to the community.

Check out the Guns vs. Hoses charity softball game when the police department faces off against the fire department. Donations will be accepted at the game for Special Olympics Illinois.

Visit Randy's Beer Garden, in memory of longtime on-site manager and committee member Randy Luchtman, which opens at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 1 p.m. on the weekend.

Hop on a carnival ride, but save a little extra and get a $20 wristband.

The 30th annual 10K will kick off 8 a.m. Sunday, followed by the 2K at 8:05 a.m. Day-of registration for $30 is available starting at 7 a.m. Both races start at Hampshire Middle School, 560 S. State St.

Park district supervisor Stephanie Weber said the two races offer opportunities for all ages and racers.

"I like to think the 2K is for everyone. It's a good time for families -- they can walk or run together," she said.

For more information, visit www.hampshirecooncreekcountrydays.com/

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