The Sugar Grove Corn Boil History

“Come One, Come ALL! Wear your sun bonnets and straw hats. Recall the days of yesteryear and join in the old fashion countryside spirit.” These are the first three sentences from the 1971 edition of the Sugar Grove newspaper. They were describing the Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

The history of the Sugar Grove Corn Boil takes us back to 1967. A small community gathering, put on by the Young Adults Club, for the purpose of raising funds. The Young Adults Club (couples under the age of forty) put on a four-hour event for friends and neighbors, with the first event raising funds for the first street lamp. Couples started to age out of the group resulting in good people leaving. It was decided that the group would reorganize under the new name of Sugar Grove Community Group. The intention of the group remained the same, fundraising for village improvements, and there were no age restrictions.

As the event continued to grow, a new location was needed. In 1985, a team of volunteers spearheaded by Ted McCannon, used donated materials to build Volunteer Pavilion. Five to thirty volunteers would find time after their everyday jobs to construct this building. As more individuals donated their time and supplies, more was added to the building, like the garage door, kitchen, bathrooms, and fire place you see today. Lastly to complete the project, two bicentennial coins were embedded in to the surface of the floor. It was ready in time for the 1985 Corn Boil.

In the years to come, the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Village helped grow the event.  In 2000, it became a two-day event.  During a board meeting, the Village passed a temporary liquor license offering both The Lions Club and the Sugar Grove Fire Fighters Auxiliary, both not-for-profit groups, the opportunity to sell alcoholic beverages. Due to the success of the two-day event, in 2004 it became a three-day event, with 12,000 ears of corn ordered.

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Over the years many things have changed, yet at its core, the festival remains the same. “Where friends and family come together to have fun!” is the slogan of the Sugar Grove Corn Boil, NFP.

What makes it a Corn Boil? From the beginning, corn grown and harvested by members of the community were cooked and boiled using a steam engine. Steel troughs were laid out and filled with water. The water was heated by lines hooked to the steam engine. As the steam poured through those lines, the water was heated to a boil, corn was added, and then cooked. While the steam engine is no longer used, corn continues to be a staple of the festival.

From the community gathering with a population in the hundreds to what today is a four-day festival with an average attendance of 35,000, the event continues to evolve. What makes the event even more unique is that it is still FREE to attend!

Over the years, many memories have been created and to mark this occasion we are reaching out to you! Through the festival, we would like to share your memories of what this community event has meant to you, your family, your friends, and our community.

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