This weekend’s Kent Lions Sweet Corn Festival offers so much more than just delicious corn-on-the-cob. There will be plenty of fun for all ages, including live musical performances, trolley rides, carnival games, face painting and crafters selling their wares.
The fourth annual cornfest – a fundraiser to support Lions’ eye-care projects – will be held rain or shine from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at .
The Lions will be selling boiled corn-on-the-cob from James Pochedley & Sons Produce Farm in Hiram, hot dogs and sausage sandwiches from Kirbie’s Family Meats & Catering in Stow and slices of Beckwith’s peach and apple pies.
Jane Gwinn, event co-chair with her husband John, said she is excited that the festival continues to grow each year, both in terms of offerings and attendance.
“We’re trying to grow this into our major fundraiser,” Gwinn said. “The vendors we’ve had come out have really supported it and come back. We’ve had 300 to 400 people (attend) and raised almost $5,000 and we hope to increase it this year.”
Kicking off the musical portion of the festival Saturday will be Kerry Kean and Dave Howard and friends. They will be playing traditional and contemporary folk music, as well as traditional bluegrass music, from noon to 2 p.m.
Guinevere & Joel Rhodes will perform folk and contemporary music from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
On Sunday, the four-piece string combo Rio Neon will present its folk/jazz numbers from noon to 2 p.m., followed by the Celtic Clan of Kent playing traditional Irish folk music from 2:30 until about 4:30 p.m.
Throughout both days, Charlie Beckwith will be offering free trolley tours of the apple orchard, a clown will be providing free entertainment and there will be free face painting. will return with carnival games for children.
Gwinn said more than 20 crafters will be selling their wares during the festival, both inside the barn and outside under tents. There will be kettle corn, doggie treats, birdhouses, embroidered items and jewelry. Beckwith Orchards will offer fresh peaches, whole pies and fresh corn for purchase.
A few spaces are still available for craft vendors; call Fran Hardesty at 330-678-4012 for details.
Gwinn said the Lions credit Charlie Beckwith for starting the festival.
“(Charlie) challenged Kent Lions to start a sweet corn festival like the one he attended in Millersport that the local Lions Club organized. Theirs had grown to the size of Randoph Fair,” Gwinn explained.
John Gwinn and Fran Hardesty met with Charlie Beckwith, “who offered to let us use the property, offered to share expenses and here we are! Sally Beckwith, who runs the orchard since Charlie retired, works with the Kent Lions to organize and share expenses,” she said.
Event sponsors include and the Central Portage County Visitor and Convention Bureau. Sound equipment will be on loan this weekend from of Kent.
Proceeds from the event go directly to sight-related projects funded by the Lions.
“Eye care requests have really increased over the years because of the economy. Some of our funding goes to a 58-club Lions district eye care foundation, so that if a community member from the area needs eye surgery, they could make a request to the foundation for assistance,” Gwinn explained.
The local club also funds Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets and toys for those in need, and provides holiday turkeys to .
The Kent Lions perform eye screening and hearing tests on more than 3,000 students annually in conjunction with the .
For questions or more information, call Gwinn at 330-678-2239.