MOUNT CARMEL — The 55th annual Mount Carmel Rotary Corn Day is Sunday, July 7, at the Mabel Courter Youth Center, a finale for Mt. Carmel’s Fantastic 4th Celebration week of family fun events.
The annual Rotary Corn Day is one of the longest continuous community events in Mount Carmel.
Rotary Corn Day will again be held in the air-conditioned Mabel Courter Youth Center at the north edge of Mount Carmel. Serving is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tthe menu consists of all the sweet corn you can eat, fried chicken or grilled chicken breasts, slaw, bread, and a drink. Carry-out is available in the Youth Center Annex which is located adjacent to the main building.
People who have large carry-out orders are advised to bring containers from home for their convenience, and to expedite preparing the carry-out.
Mount Carmel High School Interact Club will sell ice cream in the Mabel Courter Youth Center during Corn Day, and there will be a limited amount of fresh un-shucked sweet corn for sale outside the Youth Center.
Advance adult tickets for Corn Day are $10 and $5 for children 7 years old and under. Adult tickets will be $12 if purchased on the day of the event.
Tickets may be purchased from any Rotarian or from First Mid Bank and Trust, Robin Dean, 400 N. Market St.; Edward Jones, Toni Brines, 219 W. 9th Street; First National Bank of Allendale, 1515 W. 9th, Kim Reilly; and Wabash Savings Bank, 400 N. Chestnut St., Bill Hackler.
Corn Day is the major fundraising project for the Mt. Carmel Rotary Club and all profit from the event go to support projects and events that benefit the Wabash County community and Rotary humanitarian endeavors.
In 1965 the Rotary Club of Mt. Carmel was seeking a money making project to raise money to help fund many worthwhile causes in the community. So, club members Carroll Risley and Garland Carpenter presented to the club the idea of “Corn Day” where fried chicken, sliced tomatoes, a drink, and all the sweet corn you can eat would be served. Consequently, the first Corn Day was held on Aug. 1, 1965 at Bluff City Park immediately south of the VFW building. Several hundred people were served and the club decided to make Corn Day an annual event.
The second Corn Day was also held at Bluff City Park on July 31, 1966. Soon after serving began, it started to rain. Food and other items were moved into the VFW building where Rotarians continued serving.
In 1967, the Rotary Club decided to hold the event earlier to take advantage of the early corn crop for people to enjoy. Since 1967, Corn Day has been held on a Sunday as close to the 4th of July as possible. The third Corn Day was held on July 2, 1967, at the City Park near the golf course where it was held through the year 1982.
Beginning in 1983, Corn Day was held at the Mabel Courter Youth Center where it has been held annually to date. The first year at the Mabel Courter center, cooking was done on the grassy area west of the 4-H building. The weather was hot and windy, making the cooking very difficult. The following year, the 4-H Foundation built a shelter for Rotary that has worked out quite well ever since.
In 1990 an addition was added to the shelter providing a place for Rotary to store its cooking equipment and other Corn Day supplies. The Rotary Club continues to contribute annually to the 4-H Foundation for the use of the 4-H Center for Corn Day.
To add competition to the advance sale of Corn Day tickets, the club gives a Golden Cob Award to the Rotarian who sells the most tickets each year. Some of the past winners of the Golden Cob have been: Robert Carlton; John Huribut; Paul Waterbury; Dr. Ernest Lowenste; James WIthrow; Carroll Risley; Ron Loudermilk; James Watson; Mike Mosbarger; Ann Tofani; Bill Wolf, Bill Priest, and Toni Brines.
Corn Day continues to be the major fund-raising project for the Rotary Club of Mt. Carmel. Each year approximately 1,500 people are served at Corn Day.
NOTE: The history of Corn Day was taken from a History of Mt. Carmel Rotary Club written by Ray H. Farrar and printed on May 15, 1995.