Watford Cornfest celebrates 35 years this weekend

Cornfest is happening in Watford August 11, 12, and 13

Travis Poland/Lambton Shield

Watford’s annual Cornfest is back this weekend for its 35th edition.

And for the first time in 35 years, the price of a hot, buttered cob of corn has changed from its previously static price of 25 cents per cob.

This year, the corn is free.

In its 35 years, Cornfest hasn’t changed much, according to organizers.

“Cornfest has evolved, but it’s still very community based and it’s all about getting the community together to have some fun,” said Cornfest committee member and Warwick Councillor Jackie Rombouts. “Nothing has really changed all that much.”

Free corn isn’t the only change at the 2017 Cornfest. This year, the midway is gone and replaced with the “Cornfest Carnival” on Friday and on Saturday, free inflatable slides, bouncy castles, and obstacle courses will keep kids occupied.

Friday features a kids parade, games, a screening of “Beauty and the Beast,” and a scarecrow competition. For the grown-ups, live music starts at 9:30 p.m. and a home run derby starts at 10 p.m.

“The midway was getting too expensive…especially the bigger families in the rural areas,” said Rombouts. “So we decided to have a carnival and inflatables.”

Volunteers are still needed for Friday’s carnival, Rombouts said.

“We need volunteers to help with running the games for the kids,” she said, adding high school students can earn volunteer hours for their work.

A two-pitch baseball tournament is happening all weekend and on Saturday, competitors will be trying to win the euchre tournament and the horseshoe tournament.

Saturday also features face painting, Blossom the Clown, an Alvinston Minor Ball exhibition game, and the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital is putting on a colorful obstacle course. The night finishes with a dance hosted by the East Lambton Minor Hockey Association.

“We got money from our sponsors so the kids activities are free all Saturday,” said Fran Woods, a Rotary Club member who helps organize Cornfest.

Rombouts said free corn will likely lead to handing out a record number of cobs.

“I wouldn’t even be able to guess,” she said about the amount of corn to be consumed.

On Sunday, the day starts with peameal bacon breakfast sandwiches sold by the Rotary Club followed by an open mic, live music, a musical sideshow from the Art Council of East Lambton, and a dog agility show.

A licensed lounge will be open all weekend serving drinks.

“There’s something for everyone this year,” said Rombouts.

Cornfest is organized with help from the local Optimist Club, the Rotary Club, and the Knight’s of Columbus.

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