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Daily Chronicle - Monday August 23, 2010

Country time: Vassar, Tin Horse help close out Corn Fest


DeKALB – The final day of Corn Fest 2010 was the day for country music fans. The annual festival’s hot and sunny third day featured country artists Cal Stage, Tin Horse and headliner Phil Vassar on the sound stage at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport.

Cars began steadily streaming into the parking lot around 3:15 p.m. for Vassar’s early evening show.

Sue and Joe Ryan of Geneva, who called themselves general country music fans, spread out a blanket on the grass at the airport to listen to Vassar. They said they saw Lady Antebellum at last year’s festival and enjoyed it.

“It’s just a beautiful day,” Joe said.

“You don’t get somebody like Phil Vassar in this area – and for free,” Sue said.

Kevin Josten of Ringwood, wearing a Vassar T-shirt, drove an hour and a half to see Vassar, whom he’s seen perform twice before.

“He puts on a good show. He’s all over the place and interacts with the fans,” Josten said.

Jamie Swedberg of DeKalb and girlfriend Jennifer Davis of Belvidere enjoyed Tin Horse’s music while waiting for Vassar to perform.

“It’s been getting better and better every year,” Swedberg said of the festival and its music lineup.

Shawn Lowe, chairman of the Corn Fest committee, said he was pleased with this year’s festival. Lowe is an employee of the Daily Chronicle.

“Everything seems to be going really good,” he said. He couldn’t provide an estimate on attendance for the weekend, but said the turnout seemed to be “typical.”

On the other side of the airport Sunday, Bob Duncan and Candi and Bob Pomykala, all of Belvidere, walked among the static plane and vehicle displays, admiring the old military planes. The Pomykalas attended Northern Illinois University, and began going to Corn Fest as students, so it’s meaningful to them, Candi said. And her uncle Bob loves it, too.

“He has to have the corn,” Candi said with a laugh.

Randy Matherly showed his grandson Anthony Grych, both of DeKalb, tools on a military medical truck. Grych asked lots of questions and pointed to the helicopter, asking for a ride.

“He’s fascinated. He wants to climb in everything,” Matherly said.

In the vendor area, ears of sweet corn sold quickly at Kiwanis and Boy Scout tents. Cody West, with Boy Scout Troop 33 of DeKalb, said three slow cookers full of corn sold in a matter of minutes. When asked how many ears that meant, West shook his head and said, “I don’t want to know.” Corn sales raised money for the troop’s programs, said fellow Boy Scout Matthew West, Cody’s cousin.

For others, the last day of Corn Fest was quiet. Members of the Kish-Wau-Keys barbershop quartet singers selling elephant ears thought business was slow Saturday and even slower Sunday.

Ed Cheek of DeKalb said he prefers Corn Fest be held downtown to attract more students and residents in that area. But the group has had a booth at the festival since 1981 and hasn’t missed a Corn Fest since.

“We have customers that look for us,” Cheek said. “You see a pretty happy group of people walking by, for the most part.”

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