“It was a real neat thing to see,” Zeigler said. “It really gave me a strong community feel.”
Attendance and income figures have yet to be determined, but Zeigler believes the 20th anniversary edition of Brentwood’s biggest community event will finish strong. It won’t match last year’s biggest-ever attendance mark, but Zeigler believes the 30 nonprofit organizations that helped run the event will find that when all is said and done, their coffers get a nice boost. “We should know in a couple of weeks, after the final bills are paid,” he said.
Also still to be determined is the final outcome of the attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records mark for the most people simultaneously shucking corn. Organizers counted 659 shuckers participating in the effort, though the number must still be verified.
“I had no idea what to expect,” Ziegler said of the attempt. It took about a half-hour longer than expected to muster the crowd, which included CornFest Co-chair Ken Seamann, a native of corn-intensive Nebraska. Did he feel he was selling out for Brentwood maize?
“I think people would have been even happier if it had been Nebraska corn,” he said. (See a related story on page 22A.)
The Friday night fireworks, as always, met high expectations. Sofia Kleeman, 8, especially enjoyed the rockets that sent sparklers zigzagging across the sky: “They look like bugs!” she said as the heavens above her lit up. “Daddy, did you see it?!”
It was 20 years ago that Kathy Leighton and Ugenie Murdock put together the first CornFest as a fun community event centered on the area’s most famous crop. This year’s expanded Ag Heritage area, put together by Madelyn Krebs, Robin Schiavone and the East Contra Costa Historical Society, was the biggest in the event’s history, according to Leighton, and was much appreciated by visitors.
“I’ve been to most of these (CornFests), and this is the best history display yet,” said Rory Ulrich. “The corn and the attractions are neat, but we wouldn’t even have a CornFest if it wasn’t for the farmers. It took 20 years for them to get their due, but the CornFest finally caught up.”
Zeigler said the smaller footprint this year kept down most of the dust that marred the event for many last year. Some visitors complained of the long walk from parking lots to the festival, but milder temperatures – and tempers – resulted in no major problems for medics or police.
For a slide show and a video of all the goings-on at this year’s CornFest, visit www.thepress.net. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.