CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)-- For the first time ever, organizers are charging an admission fee for the Saint Jude Sweet Corn Festival. They say the $3 fee is their way to keep this a family friendly event.
Cedar Rapids Police said a group of about 70 juveniles caused multiple disturbances at last year's festival. Police said most of the juveniles scattered, but officers detained six of them. The arrested juveniles faced charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assault on a police officer.
"You just got to start in the middle and work your way down,” Volunteer Arianna Hawkins said.
Shucking corn for the festival requires a full day's work. Volunteers need to prepare 25,000 ears of corn by the end of the day.
"Since about 9:30 or so I come out,” Dymonte Hawkins said.
The Hawkins make this into a family experience. The teens have grown up coming to this festival.
Each year they look forward to something different.
"Got to get excited every year: a chance to win bingo,” Dymonte said.
The festival tries to update its activities each year. This year there's more carnival and kiddie rides.
"Well I'm probably biased but I haven't seen it looking this good for a few years,” Festival Chair Molly Glynn said.
Another change is a $3 admission fee. Festival workers say they're following a police recommendation.
"After last year they were tracking what was going on social media. And they found the kids that were doing that, coming up and causing problems, were all communicating it organizing and the message that went out is there is no admission,” Glynn said.
Police will also be at festival entrances doing bag checks, keeping this place for families and traditions.
The festival starts Friday at 5 p.m. Admission is still free for kids 10 and under, and adults 60 and older.