50 golden ‘ears: Aumsville celebrates half century of buttered corn, fun

August, 2018 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community
eating the corn

Aumsville Corn Festival fans eat up the fun. Everyone is welcome to join them for the 50th annual event Aug. 18 at Porter -Boone Park

By Mary Owen

The Aumsville Corn Festival celebrates “50 Years of Golden Ears” this month with free corn and lots of fun.

“This is our 50th year of putting on a festival for the pleasure of our local residents and for visiting families,” said Sonny Newson, coordinator. “Our vendors enjoy coming and serving all the visitors are always asking to come back each year. The word is out that the festival is a very successful one-day event.

“We are projecting 66 vendors, the most in the past five years, Newson added. “New this year is glass blower demonstrations, caricature drawings, and building a bear with Zoo to You.”

The Corn Festival takes place on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Porter-Boone Park, starting at 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. with the Aumsville Rural Fire Department’s annual breakfast.

“We are changing the layout of the festival to give more room for folks to eat corn and watch the entertainment.” Newson said. “Bethel Baptist Church youth group is conducting a Duck Derby this year with rubber ducks dropped into Mill Creek and floating for about 200 yards. And the festival is adding corn husking for three age groups, 8-11, 12-14 and 16 and older. Winners will get a plaque and cash prizes.”

The festival comes alive at 11 a.m. with a parade in downtown Aumsville, corn for sale, and numerous garage sales all day around town.

Two past mayors will join Mayor Robert Baugh to lead this year’s parade, joined by 21 past Grand Marshals, Newson said.

“They will be available for pictures at the beginning of the festival,” he said. “Each Grand Marshal will receive a light jacket with their name and the year they were a past Grand Marshal.”

To participate in the parade, pre-register or register at 8 a.m. on the day of the parade at the Bethel Baptist Church parking lot. Judging begins at 9:30 a.m. and trophies will be given for Mayor’s Choice, Judges’ Choice, Best Youth Entry (plus $250), and Grand Theme Winner, (plus $250). The parade is free to enter and participants receive a ribbon.

“The Aumsville Post Office will have a booth and will have a special one-day-only cancellation stamp for envelopes from all folks attending the festival,” he added. “Stop by our souvenir booth and collect your answer to the Cruise the County Passport by Marion County Board of Commissioners.”

Additionally, Oregon State University Family and Community Health will have a booth providing instructions and tips on canning. People can also bring their pressure cooker gage for free testing.

Newson said 25 tons of local corn has been ordered for sale – ten ears for $1, or 20 ears for $3 – and eating. At noon, hot buttered corn-on-the-cob will be offered free for the eating, two ears per person. Hosted by Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, Newson said the free hot buttered corn is “tried and true.”

Second on the favorites list are the games put on by the city’s Public Works Department, he said. Family games with prizes are 1 to 6 p.m., with different age groups for each event. Games will be: treasure hunt, 1 p.m.; corn-husking, 1 p.m.; three-legged race, 2 p.m.; individual sack race, 2:45 p.m.; Duck Derby, 3 p.m.; egg toss, 3:30 p.m.; corn-eating contest, 4:30 p.m., sponsored by Hillyer’s Stayton Ford; keg toss, 5:15 p.m.; and a trash-cleanup contest at 6 p.m. ends the afternoon festivities.

A prize drawing for a seven-day Honolulu Hawaiian Trip will be held by Riverview Community Bank. Tickets are $25 and there are only 100. A general drawing will also be held for donated prizes at $1 per ticket of $5 for six tickets.

Afternoon entertainment starts at noon with the Salvation Army Celebration Brass Band Oregon. Following the band in hour increments are: Aumsville Community Theatre, Random Act, Jim Pfau and Jake Nacrelli.

“Volunteers are always a key to the success of our festival,” Newson said. “They are the unsung heroes that keep the corn flowing during the day.” 

Newson asks people who are interested in volunteering to sign up at the city hall, or “show up at 8 a.m. on the day for an hour or two or to move to another function like serving corn.”

“We really need volunteers,” Newson said. “We have so many moving pieces, and one of the biggest pieces is the number of volunteers available to do the serving, bagging and husking of the corn and collecting garbage during the day.

“We also have a small number of monthly volunteers that formulate the Festival Foundation,” he added. “We are always looking for new members to assist in the planning, in bringing new ideas, and making the festival a great family event for all ages.”

Sponsors for the 2018 festival are Riverview Community Bank, Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, and Hillyer’s Stayton Ford. Sponsors for the Festival Parade are: Jim Reed Insurance, Jerry Flowers, JMS Engineers and Pacific Power.

Admission is free and no dogs are allowed in the park during the festival.

For parade information, contact Colleen Rogers at 503-749-1049, colleen@aumsville.us. Contact Sonny Newson for all festival information at 503-313-2325, ltcsonny@gmail.com. For vendor information, contact Amy Evans at amy.evans@wvbco.com.

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