A new festival is coming to Sampson County, and organizers are planning to have a slew of activities available during the three weekend event.
For the first three weekends in July, the first annual North Carolina Corn Festival will be launched, with everything from live music to food to vendors.
“Our idea is to grow it year after year,” said Enrique Coello in an interview Wednesday. Coello, along with John and Tammy Peterson, are working together to get this new festival ready.
“This is a nice partnership to promote and celebrate the importance of corn in Sampson County and North Carolina, as well as the importance of corn in the Latino community,” explained John Peterson.
“Our poster has the corn god of the Aztecs,” Coello said, looking at the yellow poster. “There are 20 corn festivals in the United States.” He also said that it will highlight corn in both the Latino diet as well as in the economy, and promises some fantastic food.
“This is a chance to pull from both cultures and celebrate together,” Coello explained.
“Corn is used in over 3,500 products in the United States,” Peterson added. Corn is used in everything from fuel to ice cream, they said.
Coello and Peterson said that they will be offering everything from authentic Latino dishes with corn, roasted corn, to hush puppies.
“People can expand their cultural experience and have fun,” Coello detailed. The festival will be held for three weekends, starting the first weekend in July. Those weekends will be July 5-6, July 12-13, and July 19-20. The event will be open each day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m..
Four acres of corn have been planted at Hubbs Corn Maze where the event will be held. The corn maze is located on US 421 north of Clinton.
“There won’t be a maze, but we will have bands and dancers,” explained Peterson.
“This is for the entire community,” said Coello, who added that this will be a great chance to get some cultural exposure. The whole idea started when they were meeting about something else entirely, and it came up that they would like to do a festival.
“We have been trying for years to make a festival,” Coello detailed. There will be opportunities to pick your own corn and enjoy live entertainment. Coello said it will be like a little fair.
“Dates were picked on how soon we could get corn ready,” explained Peterson about the recent plantings. “This will be a chance to recognize how corn is used in our community.”
“We will have many things that the Latino culture has created,” Coello said, adding that the Latino community is a new business opportunity as well. “This is also about seeing what can be done locally, and another way of exposure, for people to learn what this culture likes.”
“Plus what is produced here is not sufficient,” said Peterson about the corn crops. They hope this festival will encourage more corn in the area so local businesses might not have to import so much into the area.
“We plan to do this every year,” said Peterson. This will be an open opportunity for bands to perform, but bands do need to contact them beforehand to make arrangements. Coello and Peterson also want to encourage bands to display some culture as well. A big stage will be set up as well. Vendors are also encouraged to contact them as well.
“People can enjoy dancing and the diversity of different rhythms,” Coello said.
For more information call 564-6709 (English) or 300-7914 (Bilingual) or visit nccornfestival.com
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd