The 88th annual Corn Day celebration presented by the Carmi Kiwanis Club got under way with the 8th annual Cornhole Tournament on Friday evening. Temperatures fell, as did an early misty rain. Neither hindrance, not even a home football game kept many from taking part in the festivities. Twenty two teams competed in the tournament with Steve and Willie Browning taking the championship beating out defending champs Todd Rice and Bill Harmon.
The Carmi White County Bulldogs got in on the action as well defeating the visiting Hamilton County Foxes by a score of 48-6.
Saturday morning, the Guardian Center 5K Run got under way shortly after 8am. Locals Whitney McKenzie and Ty Barbre took top female and male honors respectively.
The Beta Nu Sorority sponsored Baby Contest announced their winners on the Main Stage next at 9am. Top honors for Baby Girl went to Parker Hanson while Levi Walker Musgrave was awarded Baby Boy. Aniyah Huff was crowned Toddler Girl. Kason Hall won first in the Toddler Boy Division. The Corn Days Princess for 2015 went to Marley Knight and this year’s Prince was named in Anderson Cartmill.
Kiwanis member David Port has been running the Car Show for Corn Days the last several years and another exemplary crowd of participants and admirers looked on once again. There were 130 total entries, tied for the most ever. Best of Show went to Bill Ryder for his 1964 Pontiac GTO. Kiwanis Choice was won by Cayden Wallace and a sharp 1972 AMC Javelin. Dan DeKemper took the Chairman’s Choice trophy for his 1963 Chevy Corvette. Tom Wernz rode his 2014 Indian to the top prize for Best Motorcycle and the Best Truck trophy went to Stan and T.J. Higginson for their impeccable 1940 Diamond T.
The Pet Parade, chaired by Toby Brown also got underway at 10am and some of the best costumes ever were on display. In the Best Float within the Corn Days theme category, first place went to The Kissing Sailor, with second going to “The Kiss” and third to a float titled “The Greatest Generation”. Best float honors went to the Magic School Bus for first, followed by a gorgeous junior model replica of the infamous Kiwanis Corn Car and third went to “Smooch the Pooch”. Best Costume Category winners were Cabbage Patch Kids for first and Fireman and Dog for second. We had a Spiderman decorated bicycle taking top honors for best decorated bike with an Elsa themed bike taking second. Best Disney costumes were won by Olaf and Princess friends followed by George and Peter Martin. A Minecraft Enderman won the top Most Unusual Costume prize and a Snake took top honors as most unusual pet. Finally, Prettiest Pet winners went to the Attebury’s dog with the Campbell’s dog taking second.
Pets @ Risk also sponsor an event, the FIDO Fetch. Members of the organization sell tennis balls in advance of the event and at 10:30 at the Main Stage Saturday, one representative pup is let loose into a pen with dozens and dozens of tennis balls numbered to corresponding raffle tickets sold. Winner of $50 was Mary Ellen McIntosh. Donnie Whitley was rewarded with $100 while Rosemary Jarrell sniffed out the top prize of $200.
The Chili Cook Off made its return to Veteran’s Memorial Park for the 2015 Corn Day celebration and was well attended. Taster’s Choice went to Wabash Chrisitan. Southern Illinois Title’s set up was voted Most Team Spirit. Judge’s Honor winners were given to the Carmi Elks Lodge for 1st. Wabash Christian took second and Hippie Hill Produce Plus took third.
The WROY/WRUL sponsored Corn Day’s Got Talent contest featured an impressive array of talents, though all centered around music. In the Junior Division, Fairfield’s Lexi Abbott took the top spot with Fiddle playing Morgan Osborne as the runner up. Mike Erwin’s impersonation of the entire cast of the Muppets singing “Rainbow Connection” was good enough for 2nd place in the Adult Division. Jared Mitchell, a former winner, and American Idol regional finalist took home top honors for his renditions of “Superstition” and “I Need a Word”.
Corn Day’s coronation of Corn King and Corn Queen followed the Talent Show at 2pm. This year’s new royalty was named as Riley Price for Corn Queen. The 2015 Corn King has been named as Alec Garner.
The final competition of the 88th annual event was held at Harrington-Jeffries Sports Complex and has grown in popularity and participation every year. Luke Raczykowski organizes the Marching Band competition. Top High School was won by Benton with second and third going to NCOE and Carmi White County respectively. Benton swept the Drum Major, Drum Section and Color Guard categories. The Goreville Marching Blackcats took the highest award in the Combined Band Division, followed by Grayville. Goreville swept the combined Drum Major, Drum Section and Color Guard categories. Jr. High Division winners included first place honors to Centralia Jr. High. Second went to Harrisburg Middle School with NCO Middle School taking third. Centralia took top honors in the Jr High Drum Major and Color Guard categories with Harrisburg sneaking away with the highest score for their Drum Section. The final Marching Band award went to Harrisburg Middle School. The Junior Bulldogs were named Fan Favorites.
Find select photos from the 88th annual Corn Days celebration on the WRUL 97.3 Facebook page.