Interesting facts of Sweetcorn Festival
The National Sweetcorn Festival originated in 1941 through an adaptation of the original Hoopeston Sweetcorn Festival. The first festival, in 1938, was organized by city businessmen to promote business in Hoopeston and to celebrate the yearly harvest of sweetcorn.
The Festival was discontinued during World War II and later reorganized under the sponsorship of the Hoopeston Jaycees.
With the coming of Labor Day weekend, Hoopeston prepares to welcome the thousands of visitors expected to converge upon the Sweetcorn Capitol to witness the annual National Sweetcorn Festival.
Our Sweetcorn Festival is unique in that, besides the normal carnival, demolition derby, Grand Parade and other events, we cook approximately 50 tons of sweetcorn with an antique steam engine and distribute the corn FREE. All events take place at the McFerren Park, located at west Penn Street and IL Route 1.
As is common to most festivals in this area, a pageant was held to name a local girl, chosen by popular vote of the persons in attendance, to reign over the celebration. In 1939, local judges were responsible for selection of the Sweetcorn Queen.
In 1940, the canning and canning-related industries of Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin were persuaded to send a contestant to Hoopeston to vie for the title. Since the festival and pageant now had persons in attendance from several states, the name "Hoopeston Sweetcorn Festival" was changed in 1941 to the "National Sweetcorn Festival" and "Miss Sweetcorn" became "National Sweetheart".