As the summer season reaches its peak, sweet corn across Iowa is ready to be harvested and enjoyed fresh off the cob. In towns across the state, you can find local growers selling their crops throughout the harvesting season. To celebrate a season of summer fun and corn picking, the city of Elkader hosts their annual Sweet Corn Days! Sponsored by the generosity of local businesses and organizations along with the Elkader Fire Department, the community of Elkader comes together to make this annual tradition a reality. It’s Elkader’s largest celebration of the year and is three days of fun and excitement for the whole family in Clayton County.
I knew the celebration was Elkader’s largest annual festival, though I had no idea how large it actually was! The Sweet Corn Days were a full community effort, and there were festivities up and down the whole Main Street of Elkader. There was fun and excitement on every block, and I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. At Pedretti’s Bakery, they had been in the middle of a donut hole eating contest to see who could eat the most donut holes in two minutes. Watching citizens of all ages from the community stuff the sweet, glazed, melt-in-your-mouth pastries in their mouths made my own mouth water. Pedretti’s donut holes were irresistible.
In the early afternoon, the sun was still high in the sky when the Sweet Corn Days parade commenced, and cars and floats cruised down Main Street to pay tribute to organizations and sponsors that made the Sweet Corn Days possible. Among the floats and clowns on wheels, Miss Elkader was escorted in the parade, followed by Little Miss Sweetcorn and Little Mr. Cornhusker. I could tell the community took pride in their town, and that was an amazing thing to experience; a town had come together to put on a special event for all ages to enjoy.
In Founder’s Park by the Turkey River, a street fair had been set up with local vendors and direct sales representatives, and fun and games were set up for children to enjoy on a beautiful summer afternoon. Among the playing children and adults ambling through the park, I had found what I was waiting for all day. Three words: free sweet corn. Every summer, my taste buds wait in anticipation for those sweet milky kernels to be harvested.
With a free helping of fresh sweet corn, my day was complete at the Elkader Sweet Corn Days. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the sweet corn coated with butter to create a heavenly mix of salty and sweet flavors. The aroma of the sweet corn filled the air, and set the mood for a summer festival. The celebration was a full day and full town of excitement, and I knew I’d have to come back next year. This year’s Sweet Corn Days falls on July 27-29, and you can bet I’ll be there for the fun, excitement, and free sweet corn.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Elkader Sweet Corn Days