“They probably could have cooked this without the oven,” said Caroline Cortez as she stood in 90-plus degree weather and prepared to bite into an ear of sweet corn dripping with butter. “That’s OK, though. It’s still a lot of fun.”
Although final totals are still being tabulated, organizers said attendance at this year’s event was expected to be about the same as last year, when an estimated 40,000 attended the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce’s signature event.
“(It’s) nice to come back to the CornFest because it’s really the epitome of what Brentwood is,” said Dominesse Gajudo, a 2009 graduate of Heritage High School. “(Brentwood) is changing, but it’s good to see we are able to keep up with that change.”
Another holdover from previous years was the awe-inspiring fireworks show on Friday. As in years past, officials were forced to restrict entry when conditions became too crowded. In addition to the thousands inside the festival, many thousands more lined local streets to enjoy the show provided by Pyro Spectacular and sponsored by the City of Brentwood.
“I really liked how they choreographed it with the music,” said Jeannene Kimmel, one of those who made it inside. “I think that was a nice touch. We were standing close to the stage so we were right there for the fireworks.”
The CornFest’s temporary takeover of First Street brought several stores inside the CornFest boundaries for the first time, and that was just fine with frozen yogurt purveyor Dan Jolivette of Scrumdillyumptious. “This definitely helps the small businesses located downtown,” he said.
But while the small-business owners reaped their own rewards, the ones who ultimately benefited from Brentwood’s 2010 CornFest were the attendees themselves. They enjoyed performances by ACDShe and Biernacki & the Illusion, as well as local artists Jessica Caylyn Band. Brentwood Idol winner Tim Rios was there to sing the National Anthem as a lead-in to the Stars of America Tour featuring a trio of American Idol contestants.
Festival-goers browsed hundreds of merchant booths, noshed hot links and garlic fries and sweet corn ice cream, and sheltered beneath brightly colored paper parasols as they strolled about. For many, the biggest attraction was a chance to spend some quality time with friends and family.
“I really feel that the community of Brentwood was successful in its aims,” said a smiling John Vasquez. “This has brought everyone together. I’m enjoying myself, and I’ll be back next year.”
Mel Portue, one of the hundreds of volunteers whose organization receives much of its funding by working the CornFest, believes the event is successful because of the pervasive all-for-one attitude.
“The community reminds us that everyone is together in keeping our town alive,” he said. “Everyone in the city of Brentwood is trying to get together to better our town. (The CornFest) is like a watering hole in the desert. It happens once a year, and honestly, it should happen more often.”
– Story by Rick Lemyre and Chae Heuer