If you go
Friday: • Festival opens at 4 p.m., with the carnival, food vendors and crafters • Bingo starts at 5 p.m. • Opening ceremony and parade is at 6 p.m. • Band performances start at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday:• 5K run/walk event starts at 7:30 p.m. • Crafters, food vendors and carnival to open at 11 a.m. • Kid zone opens at 11 a.m. • Demo schedule starts at 11:30 a.m. • Bingo starts at noon • Cooking challenge judging starts at 11:45 a.m. • Chopped contest judging starts at 2:30 p.m. • Band performances start at 3:30 p.m. • Fireworks show to start at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday: • Crafters, food vendors and the carnival to open at 11 a.m. • Kid zone opens at 11 a.m. • Band performances start at 11:30 a.m. • Bingo starts at noon. • Firefighters' water fights at 1 p.m.
SUGAR GROVE – The signature event of the summer in Sugar Grove takes place this weekend, with the Sugar Grove Corn Boil offering a full slate of activities from Friday through Sunday near John Shields Elementary School, 85 S. Main St. in Sugar Grove.
Among the highlights:
• The opening parade and ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, which features the announcement of the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year.
• Band performances on the soundstage each day, featuring Epic and 7th Heaven on Friday; Waubonsee Steel Drums, Sole City Juke Band, HillBilly RockStarz and Hi Infidelity on Saturday; and As One, Serendipity, 4th Point and Big Daddy Weave on Sunday.
• Events such as bingo each day, and a kid zone Saturday and Sunday, as well as food, including, of course, corn.
• The annual fireworks show Saturday night.
There also will be two cooking competitions, the traditional Corn Boil Cooking Challenge and a new event, the Chopped Cooking Contest, which is modeled after a Food Network show.
Organizers Dave Ritchey and Darren Staub are excited about the Chopped event, as they were thrilled to be able to line up 10 sponsors and 10 participants in the first year of a new event.
Contestants will be given five items at 10 a.m. Saturday at Jewel in Sugar Grove.
They will take the ingredients home and return to the festival at 2:30 p.m. for judging, which will be done by local chefs.
Participants could not be professional chefs, but Ritchey and Staub said there was enough interest from professionals that a different
division could be started next year.
Ritchey and Staub previously were involved in the Corn Boil Cooking Challenge, and they were looking for something new to generate interest in the festival.
Ritchey said he has talked with participants, who said they were ready to go.
“They’re pumped,” he said. “They’re all excited.”
But, he said, the element of surprise is the fun part.
“They don’t have a clue about what they’re going to be cooking,” Ritchey said.
Staub said the idea is to bring in “foodies who like to cook.”
“We just wanted to give it a whirl,” Staub said.
The participants will be Stephen Hawk, Michelle Pritchard, Bruce and Leslie White, Mike Ryan, Abbey McSkimming, Mary Elliot, Damian Schulz, Alissa and Sammy McCannon, Barret Ekle and Laura Petty.
“It’s going to be a blast,” Ritchey said. “We’re going to have a very good time with it.”
Corn Boil President Jean Lindsay said the festival is committed to having a long list of free or inexpensive events, which she said is possible because of funding from sponsors.
“Understanding that times are difficult for a lot of families, it’s a great way to get entertainment and have a lot of fun at little to no cost,” she said, adding that charging for more events would be “excluding some people who can’t afford it, and that’s really not what we want to do.”
One area the festival could use help is the fireworks, Lindsay said. In past years, the Sugar Grove Lions Club funded the event.
But that group has been relaunched, and leaders said the club no longer would be able to fund the fireworks.
Lindsay said the festival is committed to having fireworks, saying the fireworks show “is really part of the Corn Boil.”
Sponsors have helped with the cost this year, but she said more support would be welcome.
Lindsay said those wanting to donate to the fireworks show should visit the event’s website – www.sugargrovecornboil.org – and click on a tab to donate.
“I know when times were tough – and things are still tough in the economy – where some of the other festivals didn’t do fireworks, we still proceeded,” she said.