Sweet Corn Queens

Content Tools

820 W. Washington, Hoopeston, Illinois

We are glad to get this account of the Sweet Corn Festival and we are sure it will interest our readers. You may want to pay them a visit this year and if you do Gerald assures a welcome.

Sweet Corn Queens at the National Sweet Corn Festival held at Hoopeston, III., in Sept., 1951. The girls are, reading from left to right, back row: Edith Williams, of Monica, III.; Bonnie Jones, Pine Village, Ind. Front row: Dolores Gustine, Hoopeston, III; Lynn Phalen, Johnston, Ohio; Patricia Baker, Theresa, Wis. The latter was chosen as National Sweet Corn Sweetheart.

The festival is a three day celebration put on each year by the Hoopeston Jaycees at the close of the canning season. Of course, as everyone knows, Hoopeston is the world's largest canning center. We also have the Food Machinery Corporation which makes the machinery used in canning factories. (I work there).

The festival is an occasion you really have to see to appreciate. This year we are going to give away a Ten Thousand Dollar National Saratoga Home. It is a three bedroom ranch type, prefabricated home and will be erected on the lucky ticket holder's lot. The celerbation is climaxed by the big parade of floats on Saturdayevening. It will be held this year Septemer 11th, 12th, and 13th. We serve corn on the cob daily, which is free and all you can eat. I cook it with steam from the engine. Last year we served about three ton daily.

We put two horse tanks side by side; fill them a third full of water and run a pipe into each the length of the tank. The pipes had three sixteenth inch holes drilled in them about one half inch apart, the full length. A single steam hose from the engine fed both pipes at the same time through a tee in the line. It took about 21/2 hours for the water to reach the bolling point. At this time we put the corn in the tanks in regular corn buckets. Each tank holds about 15 buckets and the water completely cavers the corn. It takes at least 7 minutes to cook a tank of corn. We had one tank ready to eat while filling the other tank. The corn was husked and washed at the local Food Machinery plant.

At long tables the people fixed their corn with melted butter brushed on with paint brushes. Salt and napkins were also available. Of course the people were served single file.

This year we want to try Retorts and save time. After sorting and clipping the tips, we could cook it in the husks, saving the flavor. The retort works the same as a large scale pressure cooker used in canning factories.

I had the pleasure of meeting many old and new engineers and hope to meet many more this year. The engine seemed to attract a lot of attention. The engine, which is owned by myself and Josh Galloway, a well known machine shop operator here in town, is a 20 hp. Minneapolis of 1919 vintage and is in very good condition. Until we got the engine last spring (1951), it was supposed to have been used only about 3 years. Hope you can get this in the ALBUM before September as it might attract some to the festival that otherwise might not know of it.