Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Celebrating 60 years of the Cokato Corn Carnival

AUGUST 3, 2009

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN - For many, the Cokato Corn Carnival brings a sense of nostalgia, and summer without it just wouldn’t be the same.

This year, Cokato area residents – both past and present – will enjoy the 60th annual Cokato Corn Carnival Monday, Aug. 10 through Wednesday, Aug. 12.

As a way to commemorate its 60th year, a limited number of coin banks will be sold resembling the cans of corn that were a Corn Carnival tradition from 1961 to 1979.

During that time, nearly two decades ago, with each purchase of a button, people would receive a free can of corn donated by Green Giant. On the label was not only the words, Cokato Corn Carnival and the date, but a photo of the reigning Miss Cokato.

This year, the committee decided to bring back the cans, without the corn and photo of Miss Cokato.

“It’s not so much a fundraiser as it is a collector’s item,” said Dorene Erickson, Corn Carnival Committee chair.

Only 500 have been made, and they are numbered.

“They are going fast,” Erickson said.

These limited edition coin banks can be purchased for $2 at the following locations: Cokato City Hall, Cokato Museum, State Bank of Cokato, First National Bank, The Marketplace, Dahlin’s Home and Farm, and Broadway Hair Fashions.

Also new this year, the parade will be broadcast live on Channel 12 from the parade route. The event will be emceed by John Erickson and Hal Kimball, both of Cokato.

Another thing new to the parade this year are Cokato Area Food Shelf volunteers walking the parade route collecting food shelf donations. Some items needed include instant rice, soups, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, cereals, canned fruit and vegetables, as well as pasta.

What’s in a name?

In 1950, the original Cokato Corn Carnival committee had a difficult time not only coming up with a name, but also a date.

In the May 1950 meeting minutes of the Cokato Association of Public Affairs, the forerunner of the Cokato Area Chamber of Commerce, the town festival was first going to be named Cokato Appreciation Day. The second name was the Cokato Day Festival, before the committee settled on the Cokato Corn Carnival.

At this time, the committee hadn’t set a date yet, either, but it was decided it would take place during the week of Aug. 17 that year.

Kenny Johnson, George Peterson, Levi Rost, and Irving Setterberg were among the many members of the business community who organized the first corn carnival, Aug. 16 and 17, 1950, which was a Wednesday and Thursday.

Sixty years of tradition

Since 1950, the Cokato Corn Carnival has featured rides, music, food, games, a parade, and corn-on-the-cob in Peterson Park, in the heart of downtown Cokato.

A person can eat all the corn they possibly can for free with the purchase of a $3 Corn Carnival button.

Also by purchasing a button, one is automatically entered into a drawing to win cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000, given away on the last day of the carnival.

Some of the highlights of the Cokato Corn Carnival include a parade, endless food, Midway rides, live musical entertainment, the Miss Cokato coronation, history of the Corn Carnival at the Cokato Museum, drawings, and a car raffle. This year’s car is a 2009 Ford Fusion from Holt Motors.

Also Tuesday, at 8 p.m., is the corn carnival queen coronation, when eight candidates will vie for a crown and the opportunity to represent Cokato during the coming year. This year’s full candidate biographies are inside.

See the full corn carnival schedule for details.

Sunday, Aug. 9

• 7 p.m. church service in Peterson Park

Monday, Aug. 10

• 6 p.m. Kiddie parade- Starting at Broadway & 7th St. Participation awards will be given to all who enter.

• Main Parade follows- Starting at Broadway & 7th St.

• The Haining Family, sponsored by Cokato Ministerium, on stage at Peterson Park

• Food stands, carnival rides and Midway open, following parade

Tuesday, Aug. 11

• 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Cokato Museum & Akerlund Studio open

Enjoy the Summer Exhibit “Sixty (Y)ears of Corn,” honoring 60 years of the Cokato Corn Carnival

• Noon - 3 p.m. Registration for children’s prizes to be given away (14 years and younger)

• 12:30 p.m. Button sales begin in the information booths

• 2 - 6 p.m. Used book sale, Centennial Room, Cokato Public Library

• 3:15 p.m. Drawings for children’s prizes on stage

• 4 - 9 p.m. Free corn-on-the-cob with the purchase of a Corn Carnival Button.

• 8 p.m. Queen coronation and introduction of visiting royalty

• 10 p.m. Cash drawings: four-$100 cash prizes

Wednesday, Aug. 12

• 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Cokato Museum & Akerlund Studio open

• Noon - 3 p.m. Registration for children’s prizes to be given away (14 years and younger)

• Noon, Midway and carnival rides open

• 12:30 p.m. Button sales begin in the information booths

• 2 - 6 p.m. Used book sale, Centennial Room, Cokato Public Library

• 2 p.m. Entertainment for the kids on stage featuring Rusty’s Rocking Jamboree

• 3:15 p.m. Drawings for children’s prizes from main stage

• 4 - 9 p.m. Free corn-on-the-cob (with a Corn Carnival Button)

• 4 to 9 p.m. Classic vehicle revue sponsored by the Cokato Historical Society.

• 6 p.m. Corn eating contest (in front of the main stage)

• 7 p.m. Music by Mid-Minnesota Concert Band

• 8 p.m. Entertainment featuring the Minnesota Country band, Redpath

• 10 p.m. Grand prize drawing for 2009 Ford Fusion provided by Holt Motors


 

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