The National Sweetcorn Festival will feature numerous activities and events for festival goers this year, bringing back perennial favorites while adding new features to the schedule.

Country music star Joe Diffie will perform in the McFerren Park Annex at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30. Tickets are available at

There will also be a Trivia Night from 7-9 p.m. Aug. 31 in the Beer Garden and the Kids Fishing Derby Sept. 1. Sign-up will begin at 11 a.m. at the Crabtree Shelter in McFerren Park. The derby will begin at noon. Fishing will go from noon-2 p.m. Age categories will be: 6 years and under; 7-10 years and 11-13 years. Catch the tagged fish and win $100 cash.

Festival activities will kick-off Aug. 29 with Bingo in the Jaycees Shelter in McFerren Park from 6:30-9 p.m.

The National Sweetcorn Festival Grand Parade will start in downtown Hoopeston at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Car Show registration will be presented from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the southeast section of the park. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. in the southeast section of the park.

The Hoopeston Area FFA Chapter will present a petting zoo from noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and noon-4 p.m. Monday.

For the more athletically-inclined festival-goer, the annual Bill Orr Memorial 5K will be presented at 8 a.m. Aug. 31 in front of Sculpt Fitness in downtown Hoopeston. The event will be preceded by a 1-mile fun run/walk at 7:30 a.m. and followed by the Little Corn Eaters Run at 8:45 a.m. Race day registration and check in: 6:30-7:30 a.m. at Sculpt Fitness (210 S. Market St.) Awards will be presented to the overall male and female winners and to the winners of each age division. Register online at or

New to the festival this year is the first National Sweetcorn Festival Cornhole Tournament. The event will be presented in the McFerren Park Annex Aug. 31 with registration at 2 p.m. and the competition starting at 3 p.m. The entry fee is $30 per team. The tournament format is double elimination with the best two out of three in the winner’s bracket and one game in the loser’s bracket. Prize money will be awarded to the top three teams.

There are a number of activities planned throughout the weekend.

Alpha Dog Entertainment will present Laser Tag in the McFerren Park Annex starting at 1 p.m. Aug. 31.

There will be a Chicken Dance Contest at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at center stage.

This will be followed by the Ponytail Contest. Registration will go from 2-2:30 p.m. near center stage. The contest will start at 2:30 p.m. in front of center stage.

Monday, the final day of the festival, will feature a packed schedule of activities, starting with the Cream of the Crop Baby Contest. Registration will be from 9-9:45 a.m. in the civic center following by the contest at 10 a.m. The cost for entry will be $5. All proceeds will benefit the Hoopeston Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack. Age categories for the competition are as follows: 0-6 Months: February 3, 2019-September 2, 2019; 7-12 Months: August 3, 2018-February 2, 2019; 13-18 Months: February 3, 2018-August 2, 2018; 19-24 Months: August 3, 2017-February 2, 2018; 25-36 Months: August 3, 2016-August 3, 2017. Trophies and ribbons will be awarded in each category, with an overall winner named as well. All participants will receive a ribbon. Attire is the contestant’s choice. The proceeds will benefit the Feed My Lambs program.

The Kids Pie Eating Contest registration will be from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Sept. 2 next to the center stage with the contest starting at 2 p.m. Contestants will only be able to use their face, no other appendages may be used in the contest. Contestants must clean their plates and raise their hand to signify they have finished. Age groups will be 4-5 years old, 6-7 years old, 8-9 years old and 10-13 years old. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each age group: $5, $3, and $1.

Of course, the festival also offers a host of carnival rides and other activities throughout Labor Day weekend in McFerren Park. Ride specials are available from 5-10 p.m. Aug. 30-31.

A highlight of the festival for many is the free hot-buttered sweetcorn available from 1:30-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday and noon-4 p.m. Monday in the center of the park.

While the main musical performance of the National Sweetcorn Festival be headlined by Joe Diffie at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in the McFerren Park Annex, the park will be filled with music throughout Labor Day Weekend.

A number of musical acts are set to take center stage during the festival, starting with Kasey Burton Music from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Aug. 31. Tammy’s Dance Arts Center will take center stage from 2-2:30 p.m. followed by the Mike Ellis Band from 3-5 p.m. On Sunday the music will start at center stage with Will and Katie Clayton from 12:45-1:20 p.m. followed by the Hoopeston Area High School Vocal Ensembles from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and the TBT Band from 3-5 p.m. The Chickadee Sermon will take center stage to kick-off the final day of the festival, Sept. 2, from noon-2 p.m. followed by Shorty and the Chef to cap off the festival from 2:30-4 p.m.

The gate fee for entering the park during the festival is $3. Children age 7 and under enter for free.

For more information about the National Sweetcorn Festival visit