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Marietta savors taste of Sweet Corn Festival

Photo by Doug Loyer Maddox Antill, 9, won the 8-11 age category in the corn eating competition.

MARIETTA — Freshly picked Witten Farm Market sweet corn, hot roasted, buttered and eaten off the cob.

Add other delicious food, entertainment, kids activities, vendors and a car show and you have the 12th Annual Marietta Sweet Corn Festival at Muskingum Park.

Nothing says the middle of summer than the Sweet Corn Festival. It was a hot one, but there was an occasional summer breeze passing through the shade trees.

The Marietta Sweet Corn Festival is a family-oriented event to celebrate local agriculture and promote agricultural education. Money raised during the festival goes towards some scholarships for Washington County graduating seniors and toward next years festival.

“We have a committee of nine that work all year and over 100 volunteers that help put on this festival,” Jessie Bigley, festival chairperson, said. “And the community always responds.”

Photo by Doug Loyer There was no end of sweet corn ready to be roasted to keep corn lovers happy.

The corn is all donated free by Witten Farm Market & Greenhouse and is roasted at no charge by Cowboy Concessions. Festival activities included free children activities such as a craft tent, merry go-round, Pampered Pets Petting Farm, bubble fun, face painting, Cartoonist J.D. Williamson, butterfly eye painting, coin hunt, pedal tractor pull, corn hole, an inflatable obstacle course and a police & ID Program.

Live entertainment included Back Porch Alibi, Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys, the Marietta Ukulele Choir, High Schools that Rock and Pickin’ On Country.

On Saturday the Noble County Cruzer’s Car and Truck Show plus some antique tractors and gas engines were on the other end of the park where many food trucks and vendors were available.

“It’s hot, but they’re coming,” said Bigley. “We had a big night last night.”

Three scholarships were given to students this year, Bigley said. Marietta High School student Hunter Welch is one of this year’s scholarship winners and will attend Baldwin-Wallace.

Photo by Doug Loyer Beth Lane of Marietta bites into an ear of sweet corn.

“It’s amazing to get this scholarship,” Welch said. “Every dollar that prevents us from getting loans as a student helps. I plan to be on a pre-med track with a public health major and minor in biology. This scholarship means so much coming from our community. I just love this festival.”

“This is a nice festival and we love the sweet corn,” said Lee and Linda Howell of Middlebourne. “We’re buying some corn to bring home.” They decided to go earlier in the day to beat some of the heat.

The Marietta Sweet Corn Festival wouldn’t happen without the corn and the generosity of the Witten Farm Market that donates it to the festival. A produce stand at the festival was manned by Allie Robinson of Marietta and Olivia McCutcheon of Beverly, who usually work at Witten stands.

“We had a really good day yesterday and it looks even better today,” Robinson said. “We’re excited.”

McCutcheon said she likes the festival atmosphere.

Photo by Doug Loyer Dean Sinclair stands next to the “American Graffiti-” inspired coupe he built.

The corn-eating competition is a favorite event at the festival.

Competition was divided into three categories; 8-11, 12-15 and 16 and older. Contestants were given two minutes to eat ears of corn and afterward judges decided how much they ate and how well they cleared the kernels off the cobs. Some enter for the free corn, others like the competition. Whether you’re a typewriter or rolling pin style corn eater, it was great fun for everyone.

“I’ve done this for a while, but this is the first time that I won,” said Maddox Antill, 9, the 8-11 age winner.

The 12-15 age group winner was Braden Griffiths, 15, who said he just twirled it as he ate it and it tasted good.

Joshua Hashman of Glouster, winner of the 16 and older category, has competed for seven years.

“This is my second win and it feels great,” Hashman said. “I just spin it around, bite it off and swallow it.”

Dean Sinclair of Williamstown displayed his bright yellow five window coupe in the Noble County Cruzer’s Car & Truck Show, which was part of the corn festival.

“It’s a brand new car,” said Sinclair. “I built it to replicate the ‘American Graffiti’ coupe that was in the movie. That movie inspired me. I was always a car guy and I got to a point in my life that I could do it and I did it. I think it represents what hot-rodding was in 1962.”

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