Monday, September 21, 2009

The Millersport Sweetcorn Festival

Usually when post about someone, something, or somewhere, I will change the name to protect the innocent (or to protect me from a lawsuit). The Millersport Sweetcorn Festival is a real event. Unfortunately, it was almost three weeks ago (when our computer was down), so if you want to go, you'll have to wait until next year.

Our church has been working for the Millersport Lions Club in their corn booth for 20 something years. This is one of the major fundraisers in our church. (The other major one is cleanup & parking at the County Fair). For four days of hard labor, we get paid in excess of $5000. That makes up for a lot of car washes, bake sales & bazaars. It is quite the operation to clean, cook and serve nearly 100,000 ears of sweetcorn.

The festival starts on the Wednesday before Labor Day. A semi trailer of sweetcorn is set in place by the husking machine. By the time the festival is finished, this trailer is emptied an the majority of another one is used too.

These guys are running the husker. This machine is over 60 years old. All replacement parts are hand made. You put the corn in the top here...

...and comes out the bottom here. (It was a machine similar to this that claimed my Grandpa's fingers in Flashback Friday #52, part 2)

The white buckets are dumped onto a table where we brush silk off with brushes.

From the brush table, the corn goes into a large soak tank, where more of the silks come off.
The corn is then dipped out into wire baskets with lids, and taken to the cooler.
When they are needed, the baskets are taken from the cooler and set two at a time at the roaster. A 2x4 is place through the handles so it can be lowered into the boiling water.

Once the corn is removed from the boiling water, the lids are taken off the baskets and the baskets are dumped into the butter basket. The corn is then submerged in melted margarine. The corn is dumped onto the serving table where it is served up to the massive throngs who act as they have never eaten corn before.

This may be the biggest, little festival around. Not only do they have the local talent playing & singing, the have brought in some fairly big name performers as well. Some of the Nashville performers that have been at the festival include Helen Cornelius & Jim Ed Brown, Grandpa Jones, Tom T. Hall, Loretta Lynn, and this year they had John Conlee and Tracy Lawrence.

Several years back, I got my five minutes of fame by singing on the big stage with the country comedy group "The Muleskinners". I had written several "corny" songs and would sing them over the microphone at the corn booth. They were delighted with them and invited me to sing one on stage with them. Perhaps in a future post I will introduce the world to the song that I wrote back then.


Mrs Lemon said...

No, please Daddy, not the Achy Breaky Heart corn remix. Please no :)

Anonymous said...

I will have an Achy Breaky heart if I don't get my chompers on some of the corn sometime. I love me some buttered sweetcorn. Very interesting and informative.

Mr. Lemon

Jewel said...

Thanks so much for sharing the pictures and info, Sir!! I really enjoyed it AND seeing familiar faces!
Daniel worked the SCF with your church one year and said that he never worked so hard and had so much fun!! He still has his t-shirt! :-)

NinjaJohn said...

I have no idea what Mrs. Lemon is talking about. Achy Breaky Corn is awesome!