#14/15 Corn and Apple Festivals - Godfrey/Jerseyville, IL - October 3, 2009
For the first time this year, I made it to two festivals on the same day and am glad to present the very first twofer edition. I'm not sure why two towns within 20 miles of each other would have a festival on the same day. One would think that they would want to maximize the local region's festival dollar at each by having them at different times. Yet, for me it provided the unique opportunity to hit 2 festivals on the same day, and explore my gluttony.
The Great Godfrey Corn Maze is the big draw, bringing people from all across the lands to be one with the corn. This treasure can not go unprotected and has its own guard. Everything he wears is of heavy gauge stainless steel, including his helmet (but not including his sword).
I entered the corn on the cob eating contest, which challenged me to eat as much as possible within 2 minutes. I was hungry, resolved and determined and ate 3 1/4 ears, Sadly the champ ate a little over five ears, and I was left tied for 3rd. I'm like a hockey player in the penalty box right now, I feel shame.
The Corn Cannon was an interesting contraption. The cannon utilized compressed air to shoot corn cobs at unsuspecting targets. The accuracy was shaky at best, and then you "get to" go and pick up the ears of corn you shot afterwards. Obviously I moved on.
OK, NOW TIME FOR APPLES!
An interesting dish called Pioneer Stew with cornbread and a slice of Apple Pie served on a metal tray. Pioneer stew is an odd concoction of beef, turkey, potatoes, green peppers, onions, and pineapples. Yes pineapples, it was like a bowl of chili with pineapples. Like many festival experiments, it was very interesting at first, then I realized why I hadn't had it before.
The apple items did not stop there. Behold an apple fritter, a cup of hot apple cider, and caramel apples. The fritter did not look appetizing at first, but burst with flavor on the first bite. A nice blend of ingredients with small chunks of apple in a crisp coating with powdered sugar. What's wrong with that? The cider sucked. The caramel apples were every bit as good as they look. Can you really go wrong with caramel on anything?
Video of the week: Steve Davis as Elvis at the Apple Festival. You can feel the energy of Elvis, although a threat at the end of this video had me a little unnerved.
Fall has definitely begun and the temperatures have sunk to a level I am not happy about. Yet, I have mustered on and jumped at the chance to hit these two festivals on the same day. After a month of fasting, the challenge of eating at two festivals was a welcome one.
I entered the corn on the cob eating contest simply thinking, I don't want to embarrass the locals with my eating prowess. Sadly, the typewriter method is not nearly as effective as the rotate while biting technique. I learned this lesson too late, and my measly 3 1/4 cobs was no match. With this knowledge I am prepared for next year.
This festival had everything to make a full day from recipe contests, to sand boxes of corn for kids, to even a petting zoo. I love corn, and just about everything you may eat or drink these days has corn in it. If you want more corny information you can check out my favorite Food Network Chef Alton Brown, with this transcript of the most informative source for corn information. (Sweetness of corn comes from the endosperm content, did you know that?).
Any other day, my day would have ended there. But with another festival just a town over, I hopped, skipped and jumped over to Jerseyville for some apples. I took it upon myself to sample every variety of apple product they had to offer. For such a relatively small festival, it actually had a fair amount of apple related items. If you didn't notice, I didn't have any corn related food items at the corn festival but this Apple Festival even provided cornbread. All that and Steve Davis as Elvis to boot. For some reason this MadTV sketch came to mind when I thought of Apple (Ok, maybe not the fruit). Or if you just want an easy laugh Coach Hines always does the trick for me for some reason.
Two festivals in one day. I'm not sure I experienced either one to its fullest potential, but it was a fun challenge to explore two different locations. It was hard to follow a corn on the cob eating challenge with an abundance of apple products, and I considered all of the corn/apple combinations. There was no way I could have known that corn/apple is actually best combined as either cattle feed or even a deer temptation lure. That just doesn't sound right.