The city of Normal, Illinois celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Sweet Corn and Blues Festival at the Illinois State University campus. It is designed to be a ‘welcome back’ event for the returning students.
Carnival food, arts and crafts vendors lined the streets in Uptown Normal. Neighboring restaurants and shops were also open.
Corn was the item to eat at the festival and it was only 50 cents per cob. Students of the university were able to eat free corn on the cob by showing their student ID.
We had hoped to arrive in time to observe the corn cob eating contest. Unfortunately, we had trouble finding parking and by the time we arrived, the contest was over.
Billy Adelman from nearby Bloomington, Illinois was the winner: He consumed 14 ears of corn in 8 minutes. Somehow I think Joey Chestnut, a competitive eater, could consume more ears of corn in that amount of time.
Most of the food was typical carnival type food: funnel cakes, shaved ice, hot dogs and popcorn.
Walking by of the food vendors, I spotted one that was serving pulled pork, brisket and seasoned corn on the cob. After turning around, I observed that they had a restaurant behind me. So instead of braving the heat and humidity, we walked into an air conditioned restaurant.
We were extremely fortunate. Medici Restaurant is a gastropub featuring many craft beers on tap and a wide assortment of bottled beer. The appetizers looked interesting and had it been ‘Happy Hour’, I probably would have ordered them instead of lunch.
Of course we couldn’t leave the festival without experiencing Normal’s finest: freshly harvested corn. We plopped down 50 cents and ate our corn just like the locals. It was delicious!
While they had blues bands playing throughout the day, we didn’t feel like standing in the hot sun to watch them. Perhaps, we’re not properly conditioned like the folks in the Midwest.
Do you know any food festivals you would like to experience virtually? Leave a comment below! Who knows, I may plan a vacation around it.