Corn Carnival back on for 99th year

Little Mr. & Miss Corn Carnival participants Back Row: Clay Koester. Middle Row: Brianna Ferch, Adeline Kulhavy, Jenna Beichley, Jon Dixon, Beau DeWitt. Front Row: Tate Koester, Ashton Sienknecht, Kaiden Deeds, Willa Rogers. Not Pictured: Dayton & Dawson Sash and Boston Wood. Age groups are: Going into 2nd or 3rd grade. Photo Provided

The Gladbrook Corn Carnival will be back in full-force for its 99th rendition.

From Thursday evening to Sunday, the town of Gladbrook will be packed with family fun and entertainment.

Beginning in the early 1900s, the Gladbrook Corn Carnival started as a way for the community to celebrate the harvest season. Established in the 1980s, the Corn Carnival Corporation has organized the carnival, reviving the event to attract more volunteers and visitors.

Corn Carnival Corporation President Terri Luehring said planning and preparing for the carnival is a nine to 10 month job, locking in events and booking entertainment far out in advance. Proceeds from the carnival go back into the Gladbrook community to fund projects aimed at improving the quality of life for residents.

Last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the grand parade was the only attraction during the annual event.

“We counted that as a year of the Corn Carnival, COVID-style, “ Luehring said.

Highlights of this year’s event include the kiddies parade at the city park Thursday evening, followed by the grand parade through town Friday evening.

Luehring said a large number of kids come to the city park beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. for kid’s activities, including water ball fights with firemen in the afternoon.

Live music will be featured each night of the carnival at 7:30 p.m. for, “Music on Main Street.”

Carnival rides will be available near Casey’s, Great Western Bank, Hometown Foods and Gladbrook’s city hall throughout the duration.

At 10 p.m. Saturday night, a firework show will take place from the northeast side of town. The fireworks should be close enough to view from Main Street.

Luehring has heard words of excitement from the people of Gladbrook. From neighboring communities, she said she’s heard other festivals and carnivals have been doing well and attracting a good turnout.

“I think people are finally ready to get out and do something, which is good, I’m kind of glad to see that turn,” Luehring said.

With class reunions planned in unison with the carnival, she said the event brings people back to town and together again.

“I just look forward to seeing people come back to town,” Luehring said. “I taught school for 35 years, and so I’ve got a lot of alumni in the area around here, and it’s just fun to see kids come back.”