An annual tradition returns — we can help plan your family’s visit to the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival.
One of most community-oriented, family-fun inducing, corny weekends of the year is upon us: another annual edition of the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival.
We answer the questions you are wondering if you are planning to take your family out to “Sweetcorn” this year:
When is the festival?
The festival will open at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 23, and will close at midnight. It will continue on Saturday, August 24, from 11 a.m. to midnight.
How much does the festival cost?
Admission is free, and there are many free activities (see below). What you need to pay for: food and inflatables, to name a few. Arts and crafts and other stuff will also be for sale. The Sweetcorn Festival is entirely ticket-less once again this year. Cash and credit/debit cards will be accepted at all beer and corn tents. Many food and merchandise vendors will also be taking credit/debit cards.
Where do we park?
Plenty of FREE parking is available at the lots around Lincoln Square, the Urbana Free Library, and another spots close to downtown. Here is a map of the festival grounds and parking around them.
What’s the deal with the corn?
Corn costs $1 each. The corn booth accepts cash only, so bring your dollar bills and pay right at the tent for your hot, buttery sweetcorn!
Fun facts about the corn
- Around 30,000 ears of sweet corn are consumed each year at the festival.
- They get the corn from a nearby Illinois farm.
- They use an antique steam engine to cook the corn.
What is new this year?
In addition to the Main Stage, this year’s Sweetcorn Festival will include the new Downtown Get Down stage! Starting at 5pm on Friday evening, Folk and Roots will have a variety of musicians playing throughout the night. The Downtown Get Down features a Kids Zone with FREE drop-off childcare for youth 5 and up.
On Saturday, the Get Down stage will feature the adults and kids Corn Classic Corn Eating Contest presented by Tricoci University of Beauty Culture! Register when you get to the festival.
What is free?
Activities and entertainment! While some things will have a cost (like inflatables), there are LOTS of free things to check out. The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum will have free activities set up throughout the fest and Michael Moxie and Satina will have magic, juggling and fire performances throughout the fest, just to name a few.
On Saturday, the “One Community Together” stage features family-friendly entertainment all day long, with performers sharing music from around the world the majority of the day and activities from the Pollinatarium, Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Spurlock Museum and many, more more. (See the complete list here.)
On Saturday, from 5-6pm, don’t miss the Urbana, Central and Centennial Marching Bands performing for the crowd… a kid-favorite performance! (Find the complete entertainment list here.)
Remember that is is completely free to enter the Sweetcorn Festival AND enjoy any of the entertainment at any of the stages, even the late night performances. Friday’s headliners include Feel Free, The Nightcaps, The Tons ‘O’ Fun Band, and Wreckless Whiskey. Saturday will feature Bruiser & The Virtues, Them Guilty Aces, Captain Rat & The Blind Rivets. Bring your own chair to set up near the main stage if you plan on hanging out for awhile.
What is the deal with the inflatables?
Bring your wallet for the only ticketed area in the fest! Many inflatables are one ticket, but they range up to 4 tickets a piece. You can purchase tickets for inflatables in the Action Inflatables section of the Festival.
What’s the food?
There will be tons of food — all different kinds, from Greek to Thai to ice cream. Roughly 2/3 of the food vendors are from local restaurants/food trucks and the other third is fair food. Purchase your food directly from the vendors (remember, no tickets!) While many accept credit/debit cards, there may be some that are cash-only.
For more Summer Fairs and Festivals in the Champaign-Urbana Area, see our guide.
If you’re looking for Fairs and Festivals outside of Champaign-Urbana, we’ve put together a list of nine great Central Illinois Summer Festivals.