Ode to sweet corn cancelled by Olathe
Facing what they perceive is a potential conflict between putting on the long-running Sweet Corn Festival and having enough money to provide basic town services, the Olathe Town Board voted Wednesday to cancel the event for 2013.
“They really had to look at essential and non-essential (services), and as much as everybody loves the festival, and wants it to come back in 2014, it just was not practical to do it this year,” said Bobbi Sale, Olathe town clerk.
This year’s festival was planned for Aug. 2-3, and would have been the 22nd year of the event celebrating the regionally unique summer staple.
Past years have included continuous live entertainment on two stages, all the free sweet corn you can eat, vendors, contests and games, and an event-ending fireworks show.
But making money on the festival is not always a guarantee. Sale said some years it makes money for the town, and other years it costs the town funds to put the festival on for folks. Last year, she said, it cost Olathe $16,000.
“Right now in this economy, the board has to look at wants and needs — and the corn festival has turned into a want, and not a need,” Sale said.
Citing recent layoffs that the town has had to make, Sale said, “(The board) just couldn’t risk not making money.”
After an extended discussion Wednesday night, all seven members of the board voted to cancel the 2013 festival. But, Sale said, “Every board member made it clear that they didn’t want the festival to go away — it was just a budgetary consideration.”