Sweet corn in August is a staple in Iowa, and one of the advantages of living in Des Moines is having access to sweetcorn at the Farmer's Market, as well as various Sweet Corn Festivals around Central Iowa. Small towns do it up to celebrate this wonderful grain, complete with inflatable rides for kids, performances by local dancers, games for all ages, and even a Sweet Corn Princess waving to her fans in her tiara and sash.
Adel, Iowa, a town about thirty minutes northwest of Des Moines celebrated their 30th Sweet Corn Festival on August 30th in the town square. They really did it up this year with 7 tons of Deardorff sweet corn purchased, cleaned, hulled and cooked by the locals for the event. The corn is served steaming hot and there are various tables adorned with squeezable butter, salt and pepper. That's about 15,000 ears of corn! To celebrate the 30-year mark, there was also a cake the shape of the Dallas County courthouse, big enough to feed at least 1,000 people, and measure 4 x 8 feet!
It took over 200 volunteers to shuck the corn and Adel treated those volunteers to free live entertainment while they worked, and the record thus far has been shucking those 7 tons in 2 hours! That's some fast shucking! Aside from the free sweet corn, there were 75 food vendors selling everything from grilled cheese, tenderloins, snow cones and churros. There was also a parade, a 5K charity run and sprinklers to combat the 100+degree weather of the day.
So, the next time you're thinking about having a true Iowan experience, head to a local sweet corn festival and taste a bit of Iowa, one kernel at a time!
To plan for the 2010 Adel Sweet Corn Festival visit the website at www.adelpartners.org. You can also get sweet corn at the Highland Park Sweet Corn Festival on the north side of the city, or at any of the local farmer's markets throughout the month of August.