By Emily Sundblad, Correspondent, and
The Cokato Corn Carnival Committee
COKATO, MN Most Cokato locals are fondly familiar with the Cokato Corn Carnival. This year, the celebration will take place Monday, Aug. 13 through Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Regular attendees to the festival look forward to their favorite events every year, such as the parade, free corn, games of bingo, and the glittering coronation.
This year, in addition to the usual events, there will be some additions to the carnival.
As Dorene Erickson, a member of the Cokato Corn Carnival committee for the past 20 years, put it, it is the committee’s job to make the carnival better without changing it.
One of the upcoming improvements is a new corn stand, which will serve as a park shelter the rest of the year. There is also a “new and improved system for cooking corn,” according to Erickson.
Additionally, a ramp will be added to the stage, to make it handicap-accessible.
A final addition to the Cokato Corn Carnival is its new website: cokatocorncarnival.com.
Monday, Aug. 13
The festivities will kick off with the kiddie parade at 6 p.m. As has been done for the last few years, there are no formal categories; entrants are encouraged to be as creative as they want. No motorized vehicles including riding lawn mowers are permitted.
All kiddie parade participants will receive participation prizes, including complimentary ride tickets for the midway. Signup for the kiddie parade begins at 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway Avenue and 7th Street East.
The main parade will follow. Parade entrants and residents of the lineup area are asked to be patient as parking will be limited and traffic will be restricted.
After the main parade, bingo, food stands, and rides in the park will open.
The Cokato Museum will also be open Monday evening, 5 to 9 p.m., with its featured display, “Cokato, 1968.”
There will be no free corn on the cob served Monday evening.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Park activities for Tuesday, Aug. 14, begin at noon when the midway and rides open, weather permitting. Food stands will also be open in the afternoon. Registration for the children’s prize drawings runs from noon to 3 p.m., with drawings at 3:15 p.m. Only those who are present are eligible to win.
Information stands open and button sales begin at 12:30 p.m. Bingo starts at 1:30 p.m. Free corn on the cob will be served at the corn stand from 4 to 9 p.m.
The Cokato Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and a Friends of the Cokato Library book sale will be in the Centennial Room of the library/museum building from 2 to 7 p.m.
One highlight of the day will be the 71st-annual Miss Cokato coronation ceremony, on the main stage, beginning at 8 p.m. Six candidates are vying for the title of Miss Cokato and Princess.
Introduction of visiting royalty, presentation of the commodore award and community service award, farewells from reigning royalty, and the crowning of the 2018-19 royalty are part of the ceremony.
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Wednesday’s activities again start in the afternoon with children’s prize drawings, button sales, bingo, midway, and food stands.
Registration for the children’s prize drawings runs from noon to 3 p.m. with the drawings at 3:15 p.m. Once again, attendees must be present to win.
Free corn on the cob will be available from 4 to 9 p.m. The Cokato Museum will also be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the used book sale continues in the Centennial Room from 2 to 7 p.m.
Wednesday evening’s entertainment schedule begins with the Mid Minnesota Concert Band at 7 p.m. Beginning at 8 p.m., the Holy Rocka Rollaz trio returns to bring their high-energy show to the main stage, performing a mix of classic 1950s tunes and original compositions. Snippets of their shows can be found at www.holyrockarollaz.com.
The finale of the carnival arrives at 10 p.m., with drawings for the cash prizes $1,000, $1,500, and $2,500; along with seven $100 alternate prizes and the separate drawing for a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze.
Tickets for the car are still available. Those interested in purchasing a ticket should check with Cokato City Hall, Cokato Motor Sales, or members of the Cokato Fire Department. Cost per ticket is $100.
Carnival attendees are encouraged to purchase $3 raffle tickets to be eligible for the cash prize drawings and to help organizers continue the tradition of offering the free corn on the cob.
“While a button/raffle purchase is not required for entry to the carnival, it is our primary revenue source, and will help keep the carnival running for many years to come,” organizers noted.
As in past years, there will be a service award presented during the carnival. This year, it will be awarded to those who have volunteered at the Cokato Corn Carnival for 45 or more years in the corn stand, information booth, or bingo tent.
Those who have served in this way are asked to contact a Cokato Corn Carnival representative through the carnival’s website or by calling Cokato’s city hall.
More than once, Erickson used the word “magical” to describe the atmosphere of this event, and Cokato certainly anticipates another magical three days of the Cokato Corn Carnival this year.
For a full list of events, visit cokatocorncarnival.com.