What’s Wrong with Corn Fest is the City of DeKalb

There has always been a group that embraces Corn Fest and another that leaves town. However, public sentiment against Corn Fest Committee seems to be reaching an all-time high with the latest decision to continue it at the airport.

But the real problem here is not so much the Committee as the City of DeKalb, with its boundary issues and its preferential treatment of certain private organizations.

A couple of votes would help remedy the situation. Corn Fest Committee should bring a proposal to City Council for preferred dates and locations each year. If Council votes in favor of the proposal, it should then consider a separate request for a grant to help with costs (or at least for an agreement on how much in services it is willing to provide as an in-kind contribution vs. how much Corn Fest should pony up). The city should not just automatically pick up the tab to provide security and cleanup for a privately-organized event as it does for city-run events such as the Memorial Day parade.

Council voted on the proposal for the Kishwaukee Fest parade; why does Corn Fest get decided in a back room? Voting would have prevented Council members’ embarrassment at being informed of the airport decision by reporters. It also would have directed anger at the selection of the airport — in direct contradiction of the original rationale to hold it there — where it belongs. Because of course the Corn Fest location is up to the city when any part of it is held on public property under its authority.

Unfortunately, the confusion over this special public-private partnership allowed city management to cloud the issue and split the blame with a convenient scapegoat.

Good luck, Corn Fest Committee. With friends like these, etc.

Meanwhile, City Council members should ask: “WHY DO WE NOT VOTE ON THIS?”


GuideStar website. This requires a quick signup. Find Corn Fest Committee’s IRS 990 forms for 2007-2009.

Previous post: Corn Fest Committee misperception corrections.