2011-09-10 / Front Page

Pop Goes the Festival

Extreme heat affects Sweet Corn Festival attendance
By Scott Rawdon

Photos by Charles Prince Photos by Charles Prince MILLERSPORT – Blame it on the sun. John Yorde, Millersport Sweet Corn Festival marketing chairman, said the festival, which usually boasts 250,000 to 350,000 visitors per year, hosted between 175,000 to 200,000 this year. “The whole thing had to do with the heat,” he said. While Wednesday and Thursday were beautiful days, Friday and especially Saturday were absolutely sweltering. Yorde said heat ruined people’s appetites and the food booths found themselves with plenty of extra supplies by the time the festival closed down Saturday night.

“We had lots of advertising coverage,” said Yorde, who’s certain the attendance would’ve fared far better Labor Day weekend had Mother Nature cooperated a little more. And, of course, even a less than perfect day at the Sweet Corn Festival is still a lot of fun. Yorde said Wednesday’s Sweet Corn Festival parade was a highlight of the weekend. “It sets the pace for the rest of the week,” he said. Yorde was also proud of this year’s entertainment-- country music artists Joe Diffie and John Michael Montgomery. He said booking entertainment is similar to buying a car. A person can spend just enough to buy a vehicle that will take him or her from Point A to Point B, or someone can buy something truly spectacular and fun that demands attention. The festival is trying to book acts with the latter in mind. “People don’t realize the quality of the entertainment,” he said, adding that acts the quality of this year’s command nearly $40,000. “That’s the new direction we’re trying to head,” said Yorde. Festival visitors can expect more famous acts in the upcoming years.

Yorde has difficulty naming his favorite part of the festival. “I like it all; there’s something there for everyone,” he said. “I just have fun doing the whole thing.” Yorde said the festival board is already working on booking acts for next year and negotiating contracts for rides and other features. “It never stops,” he said.

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