Corn Boil success depends on its volunteers

By on July 29, 2011

This year’s Corn Boil honors the volunteer spirit in Sugar Grove
by Susan O’Neill
This year’s Corn Boil will begin with a parade and an opening event to honor the volunteer spirit in Sugar Grove.

When the Sugar Grove Corn Boil first began 44 years ago, the festival was a chance for the farm families and people in town to get together for some summer fun, and everyone simply pitched in to help.

“Now, we almost start thinking about next year during this year’s event,” said Beverly Holmes Hughes, Corn Boil marketing and promotion committee chair. “Throughout the year, there is always something going on for the Corn Boil.”

As the Corn Boil has grown into practically a year-long endeavor, the organizational structure that makes up the Corn Boil group has significantly grown, as well. Each activity, task or responsibility has a department and a department head, some with scores of people involved in the mechanics of making things happen.

For example, the parking and shuttle committee, headed up by Jim Quist and Joe Didier, determines where off-site parking will be each year and the shuttle routes to and from the park, and coordinates the golf cart shuttles within the park. The facilities committee, chaired by Al Markus, is in charge of fencing off the areas, posting signs, establishing the layout prior to the event, stepping in to trouble-shoot any potential problem during the event, and making sure the take-down and clean-up takes place quickly and without incident once the Corn Boil is over.

These are just two of the 20 or so separate committees, each one taking on a number of related responsibilities that go toward ensuring that the Sugar Grove Corn Boil runs smoothly. And yet, each of these committees is staffed by people who are volunteering their time and effort to make the Corn Boil a success.

In addition to the volunteers connected with managing each of the committees, there are many more volunteers who donate their time and effort to work during the event.

Each committee head gives Ross Scimeca, the event volunteer coordinator, a list of their needs for volunteers, and he plugs people into the time slot and the task for which they are needed.

Many of the tasks are assigned to local organizations and businesses in and around the town, and some groups have taken ownership of a particular task for so many years. They are like well-oiled machines.

The Sugar Grove United Methodist Church is one such example, and has been husking corn for the Corn Boil for at least the past 10 years. According to church member Ken Wheeler, about 50 people from the church show up at the park at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, and by 10:30 a.m., they’ve shucked about 7,000 ears of corn.

There is always more to be done, however, and additional organizations and individual residents are encouraged to get involved, Scimeca said.

Honoring the volunteer spirit in Sugar Grove

Opening event and parade
celebrates volunteer Bob Carroll,
creator of the
Sugar Grove Corn Boil
Medallion Hunt.

Ceremonies begin
Friday, July 29, at 5:30 p.m.
at Volunteer Park.

Organizations wishing to
participate in the parade should
e-mail David Paluch at

People and organizations interested
in volunteering at the Corn Boil should call the Corn Boil hotline at
(630) 466-5166
or e-mail