The smell of fresh, hot sweet corn and the sound of bluegrass music filled the air in downtown Marietta Friday evening during the Marietta Sweet Corn Festival and Mayor's Third Friday Jubilee.
In addition to chowing down on corn and taking in the music, folks browsed vendor booths and kids got their faces painted and rode a carousel. Combined, the events drew several hundred people.
"We always have a really good crowd on Friday night because the Mayor's (Third Friday) Jubilee pulls people in," said Jessie Bigley, president of the Sweet Corn Festival committee. "In the first two hours, we sold 735 ears."
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Twin brothers Timmy Weiner, left, and Billy Weiner, right, 7, of Parkersburg, enjoy ears of sweet corn during the Marietta Sweet Corn Festival Friday evening. The event continues through Saturday.
The Troubadors, from North Carolina, performed during the jubilee on the armory lawn on Front Street.
The corn for the festival, which continues from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, is donated by Lowell-based Witten Farm Market and Greenhouse. In total, about 4,000 ears will be donated this year, according to Tom Witten.
"The corn festival has roots with my family and we used to have it on the family farm and we had too many things going on," he said. "People like it because it's a unique little festival and Marietta's sweet corn is known throughout the region - it has a really great name and we love to be a part of that."
About the corn:
Donated by Witten Farm Market & Greenhouse, based in Lowell
About 4,000 ears of corn were donated for this year's Marietta Sweet Corn Festival
All the corn is handpicked
If you go:
What: Marietta Sweet Corn Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Armory Square, 200 block of Front Street in Marietta.
Details: $1 an ear sweet corn from Witten's; entertainment; races, rides and contests; pedal tractor pull; petting farm; farmers market.
- For more information: www.mariettasweetcorn.com
The corn is sold for $1 an ear during the festival. To ensure it's the best it can possibly be, it is picked by hand, and not a moment too soon, Witten said.
"An hour makes a little bit of difference - those sugars start turning to starches the minute we pull it off the plant," he said. "It's like a ticking time bomb and the sooner you can get it in somebody's mouth, the better."
"One man can pick about 500 ears an hour," he added. "It's all hand harvested - one of our business goals is to get a premium for our product and the machines rough up the corn and sometimes break the kernels and it's just not the way it was meant to be."
Kim Weiner's twin boys, Timmy and Billy Weiner, 7, sat at a picnic table and enjoyed ears of corn Friday evening.
"Every year since they started we've been down here," said Weiner, 38, of Parkersburg. "The corn and the atmosphere (is what we like) - Marietta is a wonderful town."
"It's a good time- a real good time," said Kevin Price, of Cutler, who was at the event with his wife Lori Price and Nora Price.
Money raised from the event goes back into the Sweet Corn Festival committee's fund and helps with the scholarship program designed to reward students in area National FFA Organization programs who are pursuing higher education in the field of agriculture.
This year's recipient is Brady Campbell, of Waterford, who plans to pursue a degree in animal science with hopes of becoming a large animal veterinarian.
When the festival continues Saturday, there will be a corn eating contest and a kids' area where there will be inflatables, balloon creations and a Pampered Pets petting farm, among other activities.