Taber’s annual community festival, Cornfest, has become much more than just a celebration to mark the end of another successful summer.
And while sometimes the uncertainties of the local growing season have conspired to create a situation where the absence of actual corn from the event was a legitimate fear, thankfully this has been rare, and it won’t be a problem in 2017, with vendors already plying their wares along local highways and other favourite retail locations.
Weather, too, has occasionally been un-cooperative — even in recent memory — but rain showers and cooler temperatures have only dented crowd turnouts to a minor degree at what is still touted as one of North America’s largest free festivals.
And with hot, dry temperatures prevailing throughout the summer months in southern Alberta this year, the long-term forecast for Aug. 24-27 is calling for much of the same, with temperatures pegged in the high to mid-20s throughout the weekend.
A change in format for 2017 will see some events — including the opening ceremonies — switched to Thursday evening, which is a departure from previous years when this was usually held on Friday.
Back in 2017 is the annual town parade — which coincided with Cornfest in 2016 for the first time — and is also scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The timing and date of the parade over the past decade has been a parody of musical chairs, being switched around persistently to meet the demands of unseasonable weather or other various events, but has now settled on a Cornfest date for the foreseeable future.
Attendees of this year’s event will also see a change in the grounds area, with several roadways in immediate proximity scheduled to be shut down to ease issues with pedestrian congestion and limit the danger from passing motorists — concerns which have slowly escalated from year to year as the popularity of Cornfest has grown and more children and families take in the event.
Cornfest now enjoys a long history in the community — more than three decades and still going strong — starting with its original incarnation as Hometown Hootenanny Days. Much has changed since then — including a shift in location from the downtown to Confederation Park — but the evolution of the celebration has coalesced around key events like the chili cook-off, cornbread contest, corn stuffing, the show and shine, and corn eating, but other attractions like the Bull-a-Rama, skateboard contest, and numerous musical stage entertainers keep attendees coming back for the corn, and “staying for the fun”, just as Cornfest’s familiar slogan proclaims.
In this week’s Aug. 16 edition of The Taber Times, we’re including our annual Cornfest supplement as a special addition, detailing entertainment and new features for the event, as well as all the details regarding scheduling, times and locations for each fun-filled festivity.
Telling those stories is key, but ultimately the celebration is one for citizen and community, and it is the community that makes Cornfest happen, from the lowliest purveyor of sweat equity all the way to the top with the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce’s committee chair.
This event would be impossible without each and every individual financial contribution or donation of elbow grease.
But it doesn’t all happen overnight, and a veritable army of volunteers is needed to make the celebration a success.
This contingent of dedicated citizens is what makes the event possible, along with the vital financial support of the local business community, and we can rest assured that Cornfest 2017 will a memorable event — as if there was ever any doubt.