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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival


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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

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Miss Hoopeston Karsen Root welcomes visitors to the 75th National Sweetcorn Festival

Hello! I am Karsen Root, your Miss Hoopeston 2018! I am extremely blessed to be your official hostess for the 75th Annual National Sweetcorn Festival! I invite you to join us for food, fun, and of course, that delicious sweetcorn this Labor Day weekend! The festival starts at 5p.m., Thursday, and runs through Monday! We have so many fun activities and events taking place this year. There will be something for everyone of all ages to enjoy! Whether it be riding the rides, going to the petting zoo, or seeing Chris Lane perform, you are bound to have a blast! Alexis Berlin, our festival chairman this year, along with all the other Jaycees have put so much time and dedication into this event to make it another great year! This year is extra special, as it is our 75th year of

sweetcorn and sweethearts. You will not want to miss the parade on Saturday, September 1st. The parade will feature former Miss Hoopestons, former Festival chairmen, various organizations from around the state, and of course, our sweethearts! Be sure to come out to the Civic Center Saturday and Sunday night to watch our amazing Sweetheart contestants compete at the National Sweetheart Pageant. We have many talented girls attending this year. It is an event for all ages! I can’t tell you how blessed I am to be able to represent our community this year and I can’t wait to see you all Labor Day weekend! Our hometown has shown nothing but support and love for me this year, I can’t thank you all enough for that!


Welcome to the 75th National Sweet Corn Festival

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival


75th National Sweetcorn Festival Schedule

Aug. 30 - 5 pm Gates Open ($3 admission) Display Area and Midway Opens - 5-10 pm Ride Special – Bracelet Night - 6-9 pm Bingo (Jaycees Shelter) - 11 pm Midway Closes

Aug. 31 - 5 pm Gates Open ($3 admission) Display Area and Midway Opens - 5-10 pm Ride Special – Bracelet Night - 7 pm Motocross (Annex) Beer Garden Opens (Annex) - 1 am Beer Garden Closes Sept. 1 - 6 am Flea Market Opens - 7:30 am 1 Mile Fun Run/ Walk (Sculpt Fitness - Downtown) - 8 am-1 pm Car Show Registration (Southeast McFerren Park)

- 8 am Bill Orr Memorial 5k (Sculpt FitnessDowntown) - 8:45 am Little Corn Eaters Run - 9 am Gates Open ($3 admission) - 10:30 am Grand Parade (Downtown) - 12 pm Midway Opens Ride Special – Bracelet All Day Display Area Opens - 12-5 pm Hoopeston Area FFA Petting Zoo - 12:30-1:30 pm Willis Monroe Clayton Music (Center Stage) - 1:30-5 pm FREE SWEETCORN! - 1:30-2 pm Polka Pop Balloon Stop Music (Center Stage) - 2-2:30 pm Tammy’s Dance Arts Center (Center Stage) - 2-2:30 pm Hula Hoop Contest Registration (By Center Stage) - 2-3 pm Polka Pop Balloon Stop Balloon Art (Roaming)

- 2:30 pm Hula Hoop Contest (In front of Center Stage) - 3 pm Car Show Awards Presented - 3-5 pm Alex Jenkins and the Bombers (Center Stage) - 5:30 pm Beer Garden Opens (Annex) - 6:30 pm National Sweetheart Pageant Preliminary (Civic Center) - 6:30 pm Chris Lane Concert (Annex) - 11 pm Midway Closes - 1 am Beer Garden Closes (Annex) Sept. 2 - 8 am Flea Market Opens - 9 am Gates Open ($3 admission) - 11 am Children’s Fishing Derby Sign Up (Crabtree Shelter) - 12 pm Midway Opens Ride Special – Bracelet All Day Display Area Opens

Children’s Fishing Derby (Lagoon) - 12-1 pm Julia Silver Music (Center Stage) - 12-1:30 pm National Sweetheart Pageant Autograph Session (Civic center) - 12-4 pm FREE SWEETCORN! - 12-5 pm Hoopeston FFA Petting Zoo - 1-1:30 pm Bubble Gum BubbleBlowing Contest Registration (By Center Stage) - 1-1:30 pm Wings of Wonder Avian Rescue (Center Stage) - 1:30 pm Bubble Gum BubbleBlowing Contest (Center Stage) - 2-2:30 pm Ponytail Contest Registration (By Center Stage) - 2-2:30 pm

Miss Hoopeston 2017 Autumn Layden rides in last year’s National Sweetcorn Festival Grand Parade.

Wings of Wonder Avian Rescue (Center Stage) - 2:30 pm Ponytail Contest (In front of Center Stage) - 3-5 pm Dalton Halls Band (Center stage) - 6:30 pm National Sweetheart Pageant Finals (Civic Center) - 7 pm Demo Derby (Annex) - 9 pm National Sweetheart Pageant Reception (Civic Center) - 10 pm Midway Closes - 12 am Beer Garden Closes (Annex) Sept. 3 - 8 am Flea Market Opens - 9 am Gates Open ($3 admission) Display Area Opens - 9-9:45 am Cream of the Crop Pretty Baby

Contest Registration (Civic Center) - 10 am Cream of the Crop Pretty Baby Contest (Civic Center) - 12 pm Midway Opens Ride Special – Bracelet All Day - 12-12:45 pm Dancepiration Dance Academy (Center Stage) - 12-4 pm FREE SWEETCORN! - 12-4 pm Hoopeston Area FFA Petting Zoo - 12:30-1 pm Kids’ Pie Eating Contest Registration (By Center Stage) - 1 pm Kids’ Pie Eating Contest (In front of Center Stage) - 2-4 pm Back Paiges (Center Stage) - 9 pm Midway Closes

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

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Runners take off from the starting line during the 2017 Bill Orr Memorial 5K Classic.

New location set for Bill Orr Memorial 5K Classic

The annual Bill Orr Memorial 5K Classic will have a new starting point and route during the 75th National Sweetcorn Festival. The race directors from Anthem Chevrolet Buick have partnered with Sculpt Fitness, located at 210 S. Market St., to host the event and offer a new registration area as well as start/finish location. Race day registration and check-in will be from 6:30-7:30 a.m. Sept. 1 at Sculpt Fitness. The 5K will begin at 8 a.m. The event, which was previously hosted at Honeywell Grade School, will have three awards presented in each age category as well

as an overall male and female winner who will receive a trophy and a Body n’ Sole gift certificate. T-Shirts are guaranteed to the first 250 preregistered participants. Pre-registration for event is $24. After Aug. 29, that fee increases to $26. In addition to the 5K, the event will also feature a one mile fun run/walk. The one mile fun run/walk will start at 7:30 a.m. Registration for the one mile fun run/walk is $16. The first place winner will receive a plaque and the next nine finishers will receive medallions. Ribbons will be awarded to the remaining participants.

The final race of the event will be the Little Corn Eaters Run for Fun. This short-distance race for children six and under will be presented at the conclusion of the 5K, likely around 8:45 a.m. Children may be assisted by an adult and strollers will be allowed for this event only. Children will receive a participation ribbon. The event is free. For any questions regarding the race, please contact Devin McFadden at (217)283-6688. Visit http://www.hoopestonjaycees.org/ festival/5K/default.html for registration information.

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival


Chris Lane to headline National Sweetcorn Festival Concert

Chris Lane will headline a concert during this year’s National Sweetcorn Festival. Lane has been on a journey of self-discovery over the past few years. Heading into his second album for Big Loud Records, aptly titled Laps Around the Sun, that quest for self discovery was heavy on Chris Lane’s mind. Two whirlwind years of chart toppers and jam-packed shows had gone by for the breakout country talent, but the North Carolina native still felt restless. He found himself looking back to his early days, and back to the reasons he fell in love with music in the first place. “Girl Problems” was the 2016 album that launched Lane as one of Nashville’s most exciting new artists, the singer-songwriter. After “Girl Problems,” Lane released “Laps Around the Sun” and attempted to incorporate a more organic feel, building off the sandy arrangements of artists like Chesney and Billy Currington with an added touch of new-school cool.

On “Drunk People,” Lane’s good-natured sense of humor shines bright. The grinning mid-tempo is just smooth enough to not aggravate a hangover headache, but edgy enough to admit that drunk people do dumb things ... like get back together. Lane will share the stage with Smithfield, a country music duo that was founded in 2011 with a dream as big as their home state of Texas. Comprised of vocalists Trey and Jennifer, SmithField took the stage by storm with their memorable music and stunning harmonies. Having grown up together, their on-stage chemistry is undeniably genuine and natural. Country duos are a unique breed in the music industry. Two voices have to blend perfectly together, and that combination is often hard to find, even in two great singers. Against all odds, the duo has continued to persevere with their music and develop their sound, and found that with a lot hard work and passion that anything can be accomplished. After only one year in

Chris Lane (above) and “Smithfield” (right) will perform Sept. 1 at the National Sweetcorn Festival. Nashville, Mixing the heavily rock influenced background of Trey and the classical country tendency of Jennifer, SmithField creates a contemporary country sound that’s different and compelling. Lane and Smithfield will perform on-stage in the McFerren Park Annex Sept. 1.

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with performances set to start at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $20 and advance ticket for the Party Pit are $30. Buyers must be over age 21 to purchase a ticket to the VIP Party Pit. Tickets can be purchased online at https://www. eventsprout.com/event/chrislanehoopeston#

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival







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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

Alaska Kezia Belisle

College: University of Alaska - Anchorage Major: Aviation Technology Talent: Taekwondo Weapons Performance to “He’s a Pirate” by Klaus Badelt Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I started in the pageant world 3 years ago, and every year I get to see how much I’ve grown. I love seeing how much more confidence I have, how my public speaking skills have improved and the bond sisterhood that I have become a part of. I never thought I would be a pageant girl, yet here I am, and I don’t regret a thing. When I heard about the Sweetheart Pageant, I knew immediately that it was something I wanted to do. Meeting pageant sisters from across the nation, performing at a National level, and getting to eat as much sweet corn as I want! #goals I would be honored to represent Alaska as a Sweetheart, I know I would gain valuable experience and friendships along the way. I started competing in

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California Rebecca Potts


pageants for the scholarships, but I’ve learned there is so much more to it. They are so fun, you learn so much and the women you compete with are some of the strongest women you’ll ever meet.

College: Albright College Major: Psychology and Criminology Talent: Vocal Performance - Listen (Dreamgirls) Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? There are several reasons why I’d like to be a National Sweetheart Pageant Contestant, but one of the most important for me is the experience. I’d like to meet women across the nation who are advocating for a cause and making significant changes within their communities. I know that I will learn so much about the country through these women and about myself. I will make valuable friendships and leave with a new family, but I will also have a new goal to work towards in the coming months. I certainly don’t need to compete to continue my work in the mental health community, but a title can act as a microphone to help spread awareness about key issues that need to

District of Columbia Judy Mabone

Georgia Brooke Doss

College: American University Major: International Studies Talent: Singing Opera Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant?: Being a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant would be an incredible opportunity to meet some amazing women from around the country. Beyond that, it would also be such an honor to bring my platform to a national stage to hopefully educate those present on heart health and to inspire them to take this issue seriously thus being a catalyst for increased proactivity in combatting heart disease nationwide.

College: Kennesaw State University Major: Journalism and Emerging Media Talent: Dance- “Carmen” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? For seven years, I have been involved in the Miss America Organization. Over the last three years, I have been incredibly touched by titleholders from all over the country, who have told me that my journey and outlook on life has inspired them and even, sometimes, encouraged them to keep competing, too. I am entering Miss Sweetheart because I believe that this crazy journey has prepared me and given me the fire in my soul that I need to become Miss America’s Sweetheart and to finally have a national platform to share my story, my heart, and the positive, amazing things about


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pageantry and the women who compete in them. That opportunity would mean everything to me, and I would be forever grateful.

Have fun at the Sweetcorn Festival!

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

Indiana Kearston Anderson

Illinois Angelica Niemann

College: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Major: Communications Talent: Dance Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? The Miss Sweetheart Pageant empowers young women to have success personally and professionally. I am the spokesperson for my platform and this opportunity would provide me with the tools to market myself for my future competing in pageants. My dream is to be Miss America. I believe that the National Sweetheart Pageant will help me turn this dream into a vision. After holding my first title I realized that every titleholder has a choice; she can either use the crown as a weight or a microphone. I chose to use the crown


to project my positive message all across Illinois. This opportunity can help me grow and challenge me to be the best version of myself.

Iowa Jessica Baker College: Western Illinois University Major: Business Marketing Talent: Lyrical Dance- “This is Me” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? Throughout the process of competing in Miss America Organization locals, I have seen the confidence that this organization has instilled in young women, including myself. True confidence can be a difficult quality to develop, but this program and the surrounding sisterhood has helped so many of us grow, and that is something I am proud to be a part of. Now I want to reach a different audience with the confidence and sisterhood

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College: Purdue University - Ft. Wayne Major: Theatre Talent: Vocal performance-”You Don’t Own Me” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? Throughout the process of competing in Miss America Organization locals, I have seen the confidence that this organization has instilled in young women, including myself. True confidence can be a difficult quality to develop, but this program and the surrounding sisterhood has helped so many of us grow, KEARSTON ANDERSON and that is something I am proud to be a part of. Now I want to reach a differcompeting in the Miss ent audience with the confidence and sisterhood love I have found through America Organization.

Kentucky Alex Francke


love I have found through competing in the Miss America Organization.

Take a


College: University of Kentucky Major: Business Management Talent: Vocal-”A Million Dreams” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I would love the opportunity to represent the state that has shaped me into the person I am today at a pageant that recognizes and supports a high caliber of women. I want to gain more experience in competing at a national pageant as to hopefully prepare for Miss America one day, and make friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

of this

Welcome to the 75th National Sweetcorn Festival

Have fun at the Festival!

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

Louisiana Kaitryana Leinbach

College: Louisiana State University / Ogden Honors College Major: Chemical Engineering and Physical Theatre Performance Talent: Dance-“Game of Thrones” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? The only pageant my Mom ever attended prior to my first foray as a Princess was the Sweetheart Pageant in the 1970s. The only reason she was initially supportive of my participating in pageants in the first place was because she fondly recalled getting to attend the National Sweetheart Pageant as a little girl. So, in a way, you could say my involvement in pageants started way back then! Also, I believe the growth and learning from participation will benefit me greatly as I continue to compete in future. And finally, I am really looking forward to meeting the other contestants and also the host family -- as a contestant in the

Maryland Dr. Megan Cox

KAITRYANA LEINBACH Watermelon Festival Pageant last year the local Jaycees arranged us to have host families and I LOVED that aspect of the competition!

Massachusetts Samantha McGraw College: Bridgewater State University Major: Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics Talent: Vocal-”Watch Me Soar” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I firmly believe pageants consist of women who strive to make a difference by empowering communities across America. I can not describe how thankful I am to earn a scholarship for my passions, which ultimately result in serving communities, making a difference, and increasing the quality of life of people across America. My Massachusetts Sweetheart 2016, Orbelina Erazo, who was my business manager for this pageant season, and Massachusetts Sweetheart 2017, and Aubrey Przybysz, someone who I have competed with and looked up to for


College: University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy Major: Pharmacy Talent: Alto Saxophone-”Thriller” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? As the oldest of four girls, I have been a role model most of my life. It has been a goal to not only share with my sisters, but to lead by example, how giving back to your community, helping others, making academics a priority, and empowering each other does much more than look good on a resume. My time in the Miss America Organization began in 2013, when I competed at my first local pageant. My love for the four points of the crown were instant and will continue far beyond that first day. The National Sweetheart Pageant proves how important the values are through it’s rich history and tradition with the


Miss America Organization. Having the opportunity to represent my home state of Maryland at the national competition would be an invaluable experience.

Michigan Mollie Smith


many years, have encouraged me to apply to be the next Sweetheart. I believe this would be an amazing opportunity to continue to develop my character, networking, service, and lifetime of success.

College: Grand Valley State University Major: Broadcasting Talent: Vocal performance“Hallelujah” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? Being a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant would be such an honor. I have respect for this organization and I value how this pageant supports strong, intelligent and talented women. I am hoping to compete in this pageant to be part of an organization that helps create more positive role models in today’s society. I am also applying to law school. If I were awarded scholarship funds from this pageant this will help me further

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MOLLIE SMITH my education. I would be humbled to be chosen to be a contestant in this year’s National Sweetheart Pageant.

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

Minnesota Kathryn Kueppers

College: Saint Paul College/Minnesota State University Major: Family and Consumer Science Education Talent: Jazz Vocal - “Nature Boy” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant because it is a unique opportunity for those of us who have competed in the Miss America program. National Sweetheart is a beautiful extension to the hard work we have done. I have been involved in the Miss America Organization (MAO) since I was a young girl and have witnessed countless women benefit in numerous ways from their participation in the National Sweetheart Pageant. From receiving job offers, to refining interview skills, to perfecting their talents, women competing in MAO and subsequently the National Sweetheart Pageant are guaranteed to significantly improve upon themselves. I want to carry on the legacy

Missouri Angela Luna


of these women by recruiting more contestants in to these programs so women can be elevated to the next level of themselves. The time is now for women, and for programs like National Sweetheart Pageant and Miss America to empower and prepare us for the world and for greatness.

College: Northwest Missouri State University Major: B.S Mass Media in Multimedia Journalism Tap Dance to “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I would love to join the Sweetheart sisterhood and represent the Show Me State this year at the National Sweetheart Pageant because I want to continue my passion for dance and be a light to the community. Pageants have been a platform for God to use me where he needs his message to be spread and at the end of the day it is to love others. I’ve always loved the Sweetheart Pageant because you are able to connect with some amaz-

New Mexico Elizabeth Nelson

College: University of New Mexico Major: Psychology Talent: Jazz Dance-“Devil Went Down to Georgia” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I would love to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant to gain additional pageant experience, and compete against others from across the nation. I have also heard great things about this pageant from former Sweetheart contestants like the hospitality received, the expe-

ANGELA LUNA ing girls and have another

opportunity to grow while doing what you love.

New York Baylee Simpson

ELIZABETH NELSON rienced gained, and the friendships made.

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College: The College at Brockport Talent: Ballet en Pointe; Dance Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant?: I know that as the National Sweetheart, I would be beyond excited for the opportunity to be a leader and advocate for arts education programs among our local, state, and national leaders. The Arts Education: Graduating to New Heights values education, growth, artistic performance, and advocacy. As the National Sweetheart I will be able to simultaneously promote my platform while promoting the tenets of the National Sweetheart Pageant. I firmly believe that Arts Education: Graduating to New Heights can become a driving factor to diminish the increasing achievement gap within our nation’s school districts and that the title of the National Sweetheart can elevate me as a more visible leader in this important national issue. I know that my upbringing sets me apart from other

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BAYLEE SIMPSON advocates for equity and equality in our education systems. I know that as the National Sweetheart I will be an excellent representation not only for the organization, but for the women and children of our country.

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

Ohio Michelle Denny

College: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Major: Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Talent: Violin/Excerpt from “Phantom of the Opera Medley” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I have heard wonderful stories about the experience and the friendships that have formed from the National Sweetheart Pageant. One of the best things about the pageant community is the connections that are made and the sisterhood that is created by competing with one another. The National Sweetheart Pageant creates a network every year of talented, bright accomplished young women who are constantly working to better themselves. I love the challenge to be my best self by practicing and performing my talent, stay active to live a healthy life, and keep up with world events. I caught the

Oregon Shivali Kadam


pageant bug at my first Miss America local. This year’s National Sweetheart Pageant is the ultimate opportunity to become part of a pageant community that fosters friendships across the nation and highlights the best attributes of young women.

Pennsylvania Brandi Santaniello

College: Immaculata University Major: Chemistry Talent: Piano-”Bumble Boogie” by Jack Fina Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I would absolutely love to be a contestant in the National Sweetheart Pageant! It seems that once you are part of the Sweetheart Family, you are always a part of the Sweetheart Family. It is such a fantastic organization. In addition, I think one of the best parts of the pageant is that it is held in a small town. Although I have never had the opportunity to attend the pageant, it seems like the whole town comes together for the event. I think it is important to have a supportive community and Hoopeston is just that! If chosen as a contestant I know I will come away with lifelong friendships not only from the other participants but also

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College: Oregon State University Major: Chemical Engineering Talent: Vocal performance of “Home” from The Wiz Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? I want to be a National Sweetheart pageant contestant because I want to be a part of a national sisterhood. Former Oregon Sweethearts have always told me about what a wonderful experience competing in this pageant was and how incredible it was to meet accomplished women from across the SHIVALI KADAM country. I will likely never stand on the Miss America stage but I would pageant for my nationals be honored to participate in this moment.

Virginia McKenna Luzynski

BRANDI SANTANIELLO those who volunteer with the organization. Furthermore, I have a feeling that I will come back each year to work with the organization in some way!

College: Furman University Major: Public Health, Spanish (Minor: Latin American Studies) Talent: Lyrical Dance-- In My Blood (Shawn Mendes) Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? The first word that comes to mind when I think of the National Sweetheart Pageant is “community.” As a competitive baton twirler since the age of 2.5, I was encouraged to dip my toes into the world of the Miss America Organization by some older twirlers who had already transitioned into pageantry. I admit that I was shocked that first year I competed by how accepting and welcoming everyone was. My second year competing, tragedy struck my family just a few weeks before the Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen competition. We had an 80-foot pine tree destroy our home, but I’ll never forget the army of pageant people who showed up on what was left of our doorsteps to help us salvage what we could of our belongings, and take me to replace what I needed to compete at MVOT. Statistically speaking, it is likely that I will never have the opportunity to compete at

MCKENNA LUZYNSKI Miss America and form those bonds with other contestants across the country. To have the ability to do that through the National Sweetheart Pageant would be a dream come true.

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Wisconsin Jessica Hammer

College: University of Wisconsin - Steven’s Point Major: Communication, Public Relations Talent: Jazz Dance-”Don’t Stop Me Now” Why do you want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant? The National Sweetheart Pageant is a chance for serviceminded women to continue sharing their messages on an even greater scale. This program allows contestants from every state to have their own “Miss America” experience, something that very few women have an opportunity to do. When I think of a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant, I think of a woman who is kind, humble, relatable, and has a heart for service. She is someone that every person can talk to, regardless of their background, and she creates special relationships with all those she meets. This is the kind of woman I aim to embody every day. I want to be a National Sweetheart Pageant contestant because I’m ready to have another opportunity to surround myself with women from across the country who embody the spirit of a National Sweetheart. I want to be able to share my platform, accomplishments,

National Sweetheart Pageant contestants to sign autographs Sunday in civic center


redeeming qualities, challenges,

failures, and successes on a new

stage and meet more individuals with a passion for community service.

The top five contestants from last year’s National Sweetheart Pageant. Fans of the National Sweetheart Pageant will have the chance to get autographs from this year’s contestants from noon-1:30 p.m. Sept. 2 in the McFerren Park Civic Center.

Photo by Jordan Crook

Firmly Planted in the Community and Here to Stay

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National Sweetcorn Festival traces roots back to pre-World War II Hoopeston The National Sweetcorn Festival originated in 1941 through an adaptation of the original Hoopeston Sweetcorn Festival. The first festival, in 1938, was organized by city businessmen to promote business in Hoopeston and to celebrate the yearly harvest of sweetcorn. The festival was discontinued during World War II and later reorganized under the sponsorship of the Hoopeston Jaycees. Through the years, thousands of people would flock to Hoopeston each Labor Day Weekend to celebrate in the Sweetcorn Capitol and be a part of the National Sweetcorn Festival. The festival is unique in that, besides a number of attractions such as a carnival, demolition derby, Grand Parade and other events, festival organizers cook

tons of sweetcorn with antique steam engine and hand these hot and buttered ears of corn out for free each year. As was the tradition festivals in the area at the time, a pageant was held to name a local girl, chosen by popular vote of the persons in attendance, to reign over the celebration. In 1939, local judges were responsible for selection of the Sweetcorn Queen. In 1940, the canning and canningrelated industries of Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin were persuaded to send a contestant to Hoopeston to vie for the title. Since the festival and pageant now had persons in attendance from several states, the name “Hoopeston Sweetcorn Festival” was changed in 1941 to the “National Sweetcorn Festival” and

2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

“Miss Sweetcorn” became “National Sweetheart”. The Junior Chamber of Commerce assumed the sponsorship of the festival and pageant following World War II and has continued to the present. They followed the same format until 1952, when the Jaycees invited the first runners-up from their respective states’ Miss America pageants. At the same time, judges from the Miss America circuit were invited to judge the pageant. The idea was to bring national recognition to the pageant, as well as provide a training pageant for girls who may wish to reenter their states’ Miss America competition in future years. The National Sweetheart Pageant has undergone some major changes in

HISTORY, Page 15

The ChronicleT Chronicle

(Above) One of the many designs from Hoopeston’s history celebrating it’s status as “Sweetcorn Capital of the World.” (Left) Mary Dalton was the first local woman to win the title of Miss Hoopeston in 1938.

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

History, From Page 14

recent years as the Miss America Organization, which was never officially affiliated with the pageant, starting enforcing rules that prohibited MAO contestants from taking part in the National Sweetheart Pageant. Pageant officials did not waver in their dedication to the event and continued to present the pageant with new rules that opened up the competition to former contestants and others from around the country. To celebrate the 75th National Sweetcorn Festival, The Chronicle put out a request to our readers asking them to share some of their memories from the National Sweetcorn Festival. The fol-

(Left) National Sweetheart Pageant contestants ride in the grand parade. (Above) One of the many floats FMC featured in the annual Grand Parade over the years.

lowing are some of the responses we received: “I cannot remember the exact year, but it was either 1969 or 1970, my mother, Nancy Maren, and her best friend, Sandra Preston, created a float for the parade entitled ‘Rub a Dub Dub, 3 Men in A Tub.’ I was five years old and was the Candlestick maker. My best buddy, Scott Preston, age 6 was the butcher. The Baker was made from paper and chicken wire. We won first place trophy that year. Great Hoopeston memory!!!” - James Maren “I miss getting the banks from American Can and also the floats that people worked so hard to

make!” - Joy Wilson “My cousins and aunts and uncles from Indiana used to watch the parade at the Downtown Motel where my Grandma Elizabeth Silver Thomas managed. My mom, Ada Webb, won a John Deere lawn mower at the festival probably around 1966. Also, my husband and my kids, Matt and Ashley Lithgow were involved in the Hoopeston Jaycees in 2014 I think. Matt planned and worked a lot on the tractor pull. Ashley was involved in it all and was on the board for a couple years. Our son, Phil Lithgow, donated sponsorship monies from our business many years.” - Penny Lithgow

“Peanut Hamilton’s steam engine and going down the parade route and playing with the Marching Cornjerkers.” - Raymond Childers “For my entire childhood, we watched the parade at our grandparents shop, Cain Sheet Metal Shop, at 901 W. Main (now our

amazing Animal Shelter), where the parade turned. We were up close and personal every year! Sweet memories!” - Kristy Kelnhofer “Getting an elephant ear and just seeing my son happy.” - Christi PonderYoung “I remember the parade at night once

with all the floats lit up.” - Carol Lundgren “My grandpa, James Atwell aka Redman, for many years he cleaned the restrooms, and played bingo between cleanings. I would be there from open to close, I just turned 29 and haven’t missed a year yet.” - Daniel Bugera:


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Congratulations to Hoopeston Jaycees on 75 Years!

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

Wide-variety of activities planned for 75th National Sweetcorn Festival

The National Sweetcorn Festival will feature numerous activities and events for festival goers this year, bringing back perennial favorites while adding new features to the schedule. Two of the biggest events will be the Motocross at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 and the Demo Derby at 7 p.m. Sept. 2, both in the McFerren Park Annex. The Hoopeston Demolition Derby

pits will open at noon with the grandstands opening at 3 p.m. and the event starting at 7 p.m. The classes for the competition are: 80’s and Newer Wire, Bone Stock 108 FWD Compacts, Weld Compacts, Vans, Weld Trucks and Wire Trucks. For more information on the demo derby visit the On the Gas promotions Facebook page or call or text Taylor Feldkamp at 217-

419-3577. Festival activities will kick-off Aug. 30 with Bingo in the Jaycees Shelter in McFerren Park from 6-9 p.m. The National Sweetcorn Festival Grand Parade will start in downtown Hoopeston at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Car Show registration will be presented from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the southeast section of the park. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m.

Silver Brothers Ready Mix

Miss Hoopeston 2017 Autumn Layden serves corn during last year’s festival. The Hoopeston Area FFA Chapter will present a petting zoo from noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and noon-4 p.m. Monday. Festival-goers will have the chance to compete in the Hula Hoop Contest near center stage in the park at

2:30 p.m. Saturday. Registration for the contest is at 2:30 p.m. near the stage. Contestants will try to keep the hula hoop going for as long as they can. The contest is free to enter and prizes will be award for first place in each age category. Age categories


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are: 6-under, 7-9, 10-13, 14-17 and 18 and older. The Polka Pop Balloon Stop Balloon Art program will be roaming around the festival from 2-3 p.m. Saturday. Sunday activi-


eThe Chronicle Festival, From Page 16

ties will kick-off with the Children’s Fishing Derby sign-ups at 11 a.m. in the Crabtree Shelter and the actually derby in the lagoon at noon. The festival will feature a new unique contest this year. A Bubble Gum Blowing Contest will be presented at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at center stage. Registration for the contest will start at 1 p.m. by center stage. This will be followed by the Wings of Wonder Avian Rescue program at 2 p.m. at center stage. , While watch7ing this show, participants can register for the Ponytail Contest at 2 p.m. near center stage. The Ponytail Contest will start at 2:30 p.m. in front of center stage. Monday, the final day of the festival, will feature a packed schedule of activities, starting with the Cream of the Crop Baby Contest. Registration will be

2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

from 9-9:45 a.m. in the civic center following by the contest at 10 a.m. The Kids Pie Eating Contest registration will be from 12-12:30 p.m. by the center stage with the contest starting at 1 p.m. Contestants will only be able to use their face, no other appendages may be used in the contest. Contestants must clean their plates and raise their hand to signify they have finished. Age groups will be 4-5 years old, 6-7 years old, 8-9 years old and 10-13 years old. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each age group: $5, $3, and $1. Of course, the festival also offers a host of carnival rides and other activities throughout Labor Day weekend in McFerren Park. Ride specials are available from 5-10 p.m. Aug. 30-31. A highlight of the festival for many is the free hot-buttered sweetcorn available

Hoopeston Area High School students perform on stage during last year’s National Sweetcorn Festival. from 1:30-5 p.m. Saturday, noon4 p.m. Sunday and noon-4 p.m. Monday in the center of the park. While the main musical performance of the National Sweetcorn Festival be headlined by Chris Lane and Smithfield at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1 in the McFerren Park Annex, the park will be filled with music throughout Labor Day Weekend. A number of musical acts are set to take center stage during the festival, starting with Willis Monroe Clayton Music from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Tammy’s

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Dance Arts Center from 2-2:30 p.m. Alex Jenkins and the Bombers will take center stage from 3-5 p.m. Saturday. Julia Silver Music will kick-off the center stage performances Sunday from noon1 p.m. Dalton Halls Band will perform

on stage from 3-5 p.m. Sunday. The Dancepiration Dance Academy will perform on stage from noon-12:45 p.m. Monday. The Back Paiges will wrap up the musical performances for the festival from 2-4 p.m.

Monday. The gate fee for entering the park during the festival is $3. Children age 7 and under enter for free. For more information about the National Sweetcorn Festival visit www. hoopestonjaycees. org.

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

10th annual Cream of the Crop Pretty Baby Contest set for Sept.3

The ChronicleT Chronicle

The 10th annual Cream of 2018-September 3, 2018 the Crop Pretty Baby Contest — 7-12 months: August 4, will take place during the 75th 2017-February 3, 2018 National Sweetcorn Festival - 13-18 months: February 4, Sept. 3 at the McFerren Park 2017-August 3, 2017 Civic Center in Hoopeston. - 19-24 months: August 4, Registration will take place 2016-February 3, 2017 from 9-9:45 a.m. Sept. 3 in the - 25-36 months: August 4, civic center. The contest will 2015-August 3, 2016 follow at 10 a.m. Trophies and ribbons will The cost for entry will be be awarded in each category, $5. All proceeds will benefit with an overall winner named the Hoopeston Chapter of as well. All participants will Blessings in a Backpack. receive a ribbon. Age categories for the com Attire is the contestant’s petition are as follows: - 0-6 months: February 4, choice. (Right) 2017 Cream of the Crop Pretty Baby Contest overall winner Roman Jennings is joined on stage by his mother, Chelsea Jennings as well as Miss Hoopeston Autumn Layden and Little Miss Sweetcorn Kiara Colunga after his win last year.

Photo by Jordan Crook

Enjoy The Festival

Imagine the Possibilities...

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

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2018 National Sweetcorn Festival

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Profile for Hoopeston Chronicle Special Sections

75th National Sweetcorn Festival Guide  

75th National Sweetcorn Festival Guide