36th Annual Shippensburg Corn Festival

Tom Townsend participates in the corn on the cob eating contest during the 36th Annual Shippensburg Corn Festival Saturday.

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel

A variety of new attractions will join a list of returning favorites at the 37th annual Corn Festival Saturday in downtown Shippensburg.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

“We try to get something new in every category every year,” Corn Festival President Debbie Weaver said.

“Entertainment is always popular, and we have new entertainment as well as returning entertainment. … We have new foods and new crafts, and long-sleeved T-shirts and hats (featuring the Corn Festival logo) are new this year.”

Weaver said a band called Gravy, which sticks in her mind because of its unusual name, is one three new groups in the entertainment lineup this year. Its sound features a variety of music ranging from country to rock.

Weaver said people always look forward to hearing local groups like the Town Band and German Band, and they enjoy shopping for things like jewelry and eating foods like crab cakes, potatoes and corn on the cob.

One of the festival’s most popular events, the corn eating contest, will return for the fourth year.

“As soon as it started, it became very popular,” Weaver said. “The winner gets a plaque and cash prize.”

Of course, crafts are probably the biggest attraction at the Corn Festival, and 45 of the 227 vendors at this year’s show are new. Among them are two who offer paper flowers and another who paints floor clothes.

“Instead of carpet, they paint designs on big squares of canvas,” said Cheryl Baker, craft vendor chair. “You put it on the floor instead of carpet.”

Returning vendors will bring crafts like hand-carved wooden flowers, handmade brooms, braided rugs, Unique Diaper Cakes, pottery, matting for photos, birdhouses, pet gifts, soaps — the list goes on.

“And everything in the festival has to be either handmade, handcrafted or antique,” she said.

Baker said the festival is successful because it offers such an assortment of everything from crafts to foods.

“I think it’s the variety, that’s the reason people come back,” she said. “Some people have specific things they like to decorate their homes with, so it’s important to have variety.”

Festival proceeds, almost $400,000 so far, benefit the local community. In the past, money has been used to purchase things like historic marker signs, period downtown lighting, Christmas decorations and a gazebo for the town’s pocket park. Donations are also made to Shippensburg’s fire companies, library and community organizations.

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