“Attendance was definitely up this year, no question,” said Brentwood Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry York. “We don’t have all the ticket numbers in yet, but I do know that on Friday we had 4,000 people come through in the first 45 minutes. We had a nice even surge all weekend; I don’t think we could have asked for a better event.”
It certainly helped that the weather cooperated, and there’s no denying the contributions of “staycationers,” who added to the gate receipts, as did the live music, petting zoo and record number of carnival rides and food and retail vendors.
And of course, the fireworks. At a time when cities throughout the country are tightening their fiscal belts and scrapping those flashy – and expensive – fireworks displays (normally $20,000 for a 20-minute show), the Brentwood City Council voted this year to stick with the traditional celebration, and the community was glad it did.
“I worked at the gate (the night of the fireworks) and as people were leaving I thanked them for coming, and without exception, people turned around and thanked us (the city) for having the event,” said York. “Most city councils didn’t fund them this year, so I really thank them for putting it on.”
Monte and Deena Carter drove over from San Mateo for their first fireworks.
“Those were the most fantastic fireworks I’ve ever seen,” said Monte. “We kept getting ready to applaud because they were over, then boom, boom, boom, they’d start up again!”
Vendors reported that sales were soft, although most covered their booth rental and a little more. Some felt it was due to the $10 general admission fee, others figured it was the economy in general, and still others felt there were too many vendors offering the same type of merchandise, such as hats or sunglasses. “I hope they’re a little more selective about which booths they allow next year,” said one vendor, who asked not to be identified. “Otherwise, some of us won’t be back.”
Information-only booths query all said they were pleased with the number of people they got a chance to meet.
But when all is said and done, said York, the real draw of the CornFest is community. “You know none of this could have happened without the support of all the volunteers and service organizations,” he said. “They are really the ones who put it all together and do such a fantastic job. The CornFest is truly a community event.”
To view more photos from this year's CornFest, click here.