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.