Sweet corn crop-and festival-ready to go

Photo by Janelle Patterson From left to right, Jason McConnell and Peggy and Dennis Martin of Martin's Tree Rental set up tents in East Muskingum Park Tuesday for this weekend's Marietta Sweet Corn Festival.

For a buck an ear, the community is invited to gorge on the renowned sweet treat of the summer this weekend.

“Like a pirate, but on the river,” laughed Mark Doebrich, after checking that the tents went up in East Muskingum Park Tuesday. “You can eat cheap, the sweetest corn– no, the best corn — in the country and enjoy free music and kid’s activities all right here.”

For its 12th year, the Marietta Sweet Corn Festival will fill East Muskingum Park this weekend with children chasing bubbles, and families sharing $1 ears of corn donated by Witten Farm Market for the festival to raise scholarship dollars for local students pursuing agriculture education.

Each year the festival committee awards scholarships from the previous year’s profits.

Though rainy, 2018 had a record number of sales of corn, allowing three $1,000 scholarships to be presented this Saturday to graduates from Marietta, Warren and Frontier high schools.

Photo by Janelle Patterson Jane Rogers, left, and Bruce Pershke, of Arizona, stop at the Witten Farm Market on Pike Street in Marietta Tuesday to grab sweet corn and fresh fruit while passing through town after reading the book, "The Pioneers," by David McCullough.

“This year the forecast is dry and hot,” added Doebrich. “But we’re in the park on the grass and beneath the trees and the city’s maintenance guys have done a great job cleaning up the park and mowing to have it ready for us.”

The scholarships are going to Bailey Gentile, of Warren High School, who heads to Colorado this fall to prepare for veterinary school by majoring in zoology at Colorado State University; Hunter Welch, of Marietta, who is headed north to Cleveland to study biology at Baldwin Wallace University; and Kristen Winstanley, of Frontier, who is headed to Columbus to study agriculture education at The Ohio State University.

Gentile, Welch and Winstanley will be recognized on Saturday at 5 p.m. on the main stage at the festival in Muskingum Park.

But if you’re headed to the park to enjoy the music of Back Porch Alibi, Johnny Staats and The Delivery Boys, or the Saturday shows from High Schools that Rock, Marietta Ukulele Choir or Pickin’ on Country, bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket.

“Because of the weather conditions earlier this year and how wet it’s been, straw production has been down, so we’re not able to get as many bales for seating,” said Doebrich.

Despite the rainy winter and spring and heat wave the last few weeks, Doug Miller, executive director for the county Farm Service Agency, said sweet corn crops and feed corn crops have fared well enough this year.

“The heat can have a negative impact if it dries out the crops during pollination, but if we keep getting moisture I think we’ll be OK,” he said. “We’re heading into another round of pollination since sweet corn has a shorter maturity and (local farmers) plant in staggered time frames so that they have crops in the markets and at the vegetable stands through the summer. Field corn crops you don’t harvest until the fall.”

In the meantime, sweet corn is already leaving the farm stands in bundles and bags.

“We had to stop, we were just passing through,” said Jane Rogers, of Arizona, as she and Bruce Pershke extended their history tour through Marietta to grab corn and fruit from Witten’s on Pike Street on Tuesday.

“This is absolutely the prime time for the best tasting corn,” added Doebrich. “This time of year it’s picked in the morning, and if you come to the festival, it’s roasted that day, releasing the sugars that make it so sweet.”

The festival begins on Friday evening at 5 p.m. with the park closing that day at 9 p.m. and reopening for the antique car show and free children’s activities on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Janelle Patterson can be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

If you go:

Friday:

• Stage shows:

• Back Porch Alibi: 6 p.m.

• Johnny Staats and The Delivery Boys: 7 p.m.

• Merry Go Round: 5 to 8:30 p.m.

• J. D. Williamson Cartoonist: 5 to 9 p.m.

• Face painting: 5 to 9 p.m.

• Corn hole: 5 to 9 p.m.

• Antique tractors and gas engines: 5 to 9 p.m.

Saturday:

• Noble County Cruzer’s Car and Truck Show: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Merry-go-round:11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• Corn eating contest on stage:

• For ages 8 to 11: Noon.

• For ages 12 to 15: 12:20 p.m.

• For ages 16+: 12:40 p.m.

• J. D. Williamson Cartoonist: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Stage shows begin at 2 p.m.:

• J D Williamson Cartoonist, 2 p.m.

• Marietta Ukulele Choir, 3 p.m.

• High Schools That Rock, 3:30 p.m.

• Scholarship presentation, 5 p.m.

• Pickin On Country, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

• Craft tent:11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 3 to 4:30 p.m.

• Coin hunt:

• For age 5 and under: 5 p.m.

• For ages 6 and 7: 5:10 p.m.

• For ages 8 and 9: 5:20 p.m.

• For ages 10 to 12: 5:30 p.m.

• Police and ID program: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Face painting: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Antique tractors and gas engines: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

• Pampered Pets Petting Farm: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Corn hole: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Source: Marietta Sweet Corn Festival.

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