When Jerry Swatek's job caused him to relocate from Gurnee to the DeKalb area in 2006, he spent a great deal of time searching various village websites for the perfect place to live.
During his search, he stumbled across news about the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, and he was immediately drawn to the way every entity of the Sugar Grove community came together to help with the festival, he said.
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"I thought that spoke loudly of the type of community Sugar Grove is," said Swatek, who moved to the town shortly after. "Even before I lived in Sugar Grove, I was attracted to the Corn Boil."
Now, Swatek is the Corn Boil's events and entertainment chairman, and he strives to keep the festival "different and fresh" year after year.
"I'm in the event industry, so I really have a passion for what I do professionally," said Swatek, who works at Uprising, a music equipment and production company. "I also have a deep passion for my community, so being able to provide my community with great entertainment is a great opportunity for me."
This year's Corn Boil, held at 61 Main St., Sugar Grove, promises exciting musical acts on the SoundStage and fun new activities at the Kid's Zone.
At other sites throughout the festival, visitors can check out various food vendors, arts and crafts booths, bingo games and other activities. Swatek added that attendees should make sampling the corn a priority during their visit.
The festival will be open from 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 25; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 26; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 27. This year, for the first time, the carnival will open a day early, from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, said Corn Boil president Jean Lindsay.
About 32,000 people typically attend the free festival each year.
One of the most important goals of the Corn Boil organizers, Lindsay said, is giving back to the community. After putting aside some funds for the following year's festival, the Corn Boil committee will donate the remaining money to local nonprofit organizations.
Last year, the Corn Boil committee members donated a record of more than $15,000 back to the community.
"We're hoping for another record-breaking year," Lindsay said.
At the Corn Boil, visitors can also participate in the raffle, which has larger prizes than ever before, including TVs and tickets to Cubs, Sox, Bears and Cougars games.
The money earned from the raffle will go toward the Corn Boil's annual fireworks display, a fan favorite that will take place at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"We have the best fireworks show," said Corn Boil volunteer Pat Graceffa. "People are always amazed; they can't believe that a little town like this can present something as fantastic as our fireworks."
Because admission to the Corn Boil is free, Swatek said, families can truly enjoy their day together without worrying about putting a large dent in their wallets.
"There's family fun for everyone," Swatek said. "It's a gratifying event. At the end of the day, you know that what you've just done has put a smile on kids' faces and given a family a chance to enjoy their time together."
For more information, visit SugarGroveCornBoil.org.