It will be music to the ears of visitors to downtown Marietta this weekend when the Marietta Sweet Corn Festival and Mayor's Third Friday Jubilee kick off Friday evening.
The family-friendly events promise lots to do, rain or shine, according to Jessie Bigley, president of the Sweet Corn Festival committee.
"We've been working on this all year, since the last one ended," she said. "We have a lot of hard-working committee members and volunteers and each year (the event) gets stronger."
The idea originally "popped" up as a way to bring visitors to the area and to promote local agriculture.
"We grow the best sweet corn in Ohio, so why not showcase it?" Bigley said.
Around 5,000 ears of corn are donated by Witten Farm Market and each piping hot ear, covered with melted butter, sells for $1. Money raised goes back into the committee's fund and to help with the scholarship program designed to reward students in area National FFA Organization programs who are pursuing higher education in the field of agriculture.
If you go
What: Marietta Sweet Corn Festival
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Armory Square, 200 block of Front Street in Marietta.
Details: $1 an ear sweet corn from Witten's; entertainment; races, rides and contests; pedal tractor pull; petting farm; farmers market.
For more information: www.mariettasweetcorn.com.
Mayor's Friday Jubilee
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Armory Square
Featuring: The Troubadours bluegrass ensemble from North Carolina. Some food and craft vendors will also be on hand.
Sack races, hay rides, corn eating contest, race course inflatable, face painting, antique engines, Pampered Pets petting farm, police ID program, Marietta fire safety house, farmers market, pedal tractor pull for children up to 80 pounds, corn hole games for kids, crafters, cartoonist J.D. Williamson, 50/50 drawing. Registration for adult corn hole tournament starts at 11 a.m., play begins at noon. There will be a $600 payout for the winner.
High Schools that Rock, 3 p.m.
Ernie Cornell's sax trio, 4 p.m.
The Price Family, 5 p.m.
Bob Crock and Friends, 7 p.m.
"The award is only $250 but we hope, as the festival grows, to be able to increase the amount," Bigley said.
The scholarship is for students in Washington County who are involved in FFA or other agricultural programs. The local schools with FFA programs are Marietta, Warren, Frontier, Fort Frye, Waterford and the Washington County Career Center. This year's recipient is Brady Campbell of Waterford, who plans to pursue a degree in animal science with hopes of becoming a large animal veterinarian. Campbell will be awarded at the festival and will also present a program on FFA, according to Candis Schoeppner, one of two scholarship committee members.
"Brady is just involved in so many things and is so enthusiastic about continuing his education in the agriculture field," she said.
"We want the scholarship to go to someone who is well-rounded, who is going to pursue a degree related to the agriculture field and who is involved in community service," added Buffi Rossi, the other member of the scholarship committee.
A big draw for the festival every year is the childrens' area, which Schoeppner and Rossi both oversee.
"We get a lot of comments from people that they really enjoy the kids' area and the fact that it's free," Schoeppner said.
Included in the area will be face painting, inflatables, a carousel, a pedal tractor pull, crafts, a photo and fingerprinting ID program sponsored by the Marietta police department, balloon creations and cartoonist J.D. Williamson will be on hand both days. New this year is the Pampered Pets petting farm.
Also on Saturday there will be a corn eating contest and a trophy will be awarded to the person who eats and cleans four ears of corn in the fastest time, according to Bigley.
On Friday evening, Mayor Michael Mullen will play host to The Troubadours, a quartet of young bluegrass pickers out of Marion, N.C.
"They're young, hip guys who play bluegrass," Mullen said. "They're really great."
The Mayor's Third Friday Jubilee will kick off at 5 p.m. on the armory lawn.
"A lot of people will come for the entertainment on Friday night, bring their kids down and come back Saturday," Bigley said. "We get a lot of support from the community and from the city to put this on every year. It's just a good, family-friendly event that keeps growing."