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Crowds converge on Camp Verde CornFest
Written by {ga=mlineberger}   
Thursday, 22 July 2010 09:01

Camp Verde is now subject to the rule of new royalty after the king and queen of the CornFest were crowned this past weekend.

Corn eaters move like typewriters down their ears of corn while bidding for a win in the corn eating contest at Camp Verde’s 19th annual CornFest 2010 in Camp Verde on Saturday, July 17. This was the second year in a row the festival was organized by a local nonprofit. Droves of Verde Valley residents turned out to savor the flavor of the season.Residents can only hope that their new rulers will exercise benevolence.

That seems likely, as the royal couple, Verde Vista residents Walter Brown and Evelyn Baldwin, were more interested in soaking in the atmosphere at the annual CornFest on Saturday, July 17, than in issuing proclamations and decrees.

This was the second year in a row the festival was organized by a local nonprofit, Camp Verde Promotions, a group that has taken on CornFest and Fort Verde Days since the town government decided to get out of the event organization business due to budget constraints.

The event seemed to be a success, as Camp Verde residents and visitors demonstrated once again that a love of fresh corn in the summertime transcends all other Saturday evening pursuits.

Case in point — organizers bought 160 dozen ears of corn from a local farm. That’s about 1,920 ears of corn and who knows how many individual kernels.

“We sold out,” event organizer Carlie Androus said.

Hundreds of people crowded onto the town’s recreational field off Main Street for the five-hour event, where there was plenty to do besides eat corn.

Taking advantage of the crowds, a local group of residents took the opportunity to give a sneak preview of their jail restoration project. The old jail, located behind the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, was built in 1933 but has long since been used for other purposes.

Dick Rynearson, Ray Floyd, Jim Ashton and Gary Kenfield have been the driving force behind an effort to restore the structure to its original appearance, including the reinstallation of the enormously heavy bars that once kept people as involuntary guests of Yavapai County.

The work continues on the restoration project, and the group hopes to officially unveil the fruits of its labor at October’s Fort Verde Days.

The CornFest brought out the crowds, Androus said, even if the number of vendors was low. Androus said high insurance costs led some merchants to back out of the festival. Regardless, the weather was fine, since the temperatures dropped somewhat, although it never got cool enough to shorten the line at the ice cream booth.

The mechanical pops of the John Deere gasoline-powered homemade ice cream maker fascinated the children and, to a lesser degree, the dogs who were well-represented at CornFest.

In fact, it seemed to be the canine social event of the season as the assorted pups smelled each other to catch up on the latest news.

There were games and amusements for the children in addition to the ice cream. Even though the event prohibited the sale of alcohol, Androus said that attendees seemed to appreciate the event because of its family-oriented nature.

“I had several people come up to me and tell me how much they appreciated it,” Androus said.

There was live music courtesy of regional jazz-folk band Uncommon Ground and a successful talent show, Androus said, along with musical-chairs-type events where delicious baked desserts were at stake.

For those who couldn’t sing, there was plenty of entertainment to be had from watching an assortment of folks — including elected officials, business people and religious leaders — take a drop into the dunk tank.

The money raised from soaking local notables will go to help Camp Verde Promotions continue holding these types of events to bring the community out and about.

Finally, there was also the entertainment derived from neighbors meeting neighbors and relaxing under the wide open sky.

“It’s a really nice event,” said Eddie Ojeda, summing up his feeling on the CornFest. “The corn is great.”


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