Annual East Prairie festival starts today

Friday, June 22, 2012

EAST PRAIRIE, Mo. -- The sweet corn is ripening and East Prairie is ready to celebrate the arrival of the annual harvest. The 38th annual Sweet Corn Festival activities get underway today and continue through July 4.

"It's a real good time," said Karen Coffer, a member of the Downtown Revitalization Committee, about the events hosted by the community. "It's all about having a good time and showing the unity in our community."

It's Coffer's organization that gets the festival started. The Main Street party is from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. today.

Describing the event as "a big family reunion," Coffer said all the activities are family-friendly. Those attending will find craft and food vendors which have filled the 50 spots available in East Prairie's downtown along with games for children, a 50/50 raffle and a 5K run during the evening.

The Jerry Ford Orchestra from Cape Girardeau will perform in the gazebo while Anna Catherine DeHart of Sikeston, Mo., and her band will entertain at the east end of Main Street. Also performances are planned by a children's bell choir with a patriotic salute to end the evening.

Coffer said the party typically draws from 1,200 to 2,000 visitors into town for the evening.

Although many of those attending are locals or former residents, Coffer said it is also designed as a welcome to the bicyclists taking part in Saturday's Tour de Corn.

Some 800 riders are expected to ride in the Tour de Corn, which begins at 7:30 a.m.

The Kiddie Parade will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday starting at the First Christian Church for those age 12 and under with their bicycles, wagons and small battery-operated vehicles decorated for the Fourth of July. The best-decorated vehicle earn's a first place prize of $25, with $15 for second place and $10 for third place.

Many of the food and craft vendors will also remain in town Saturday.

Events pick up again June 29 with the East Prairie Chamber of Commerce hosting a fish fry at 6 p.m. at the East Prairie Nutrition Center. The cost is $8 per plate with proceeds benefitting the Chamber, according to Dana Brown-Ellis, a board member of the East Prairie Chamber of Commerce.

East Prairie keeps rolling along with the Sweet Corn Festival Car Show and Cruise. Registration is at 10 a.m. June 30 at the East Prairie City Park. Entry fee is $15 and two cans of corn for the local food pantries.

Trophies are awarded to the Top 10, best of show, best interior, best exterior and best engine compartment. Following the trophy presentation, car show participants will cruise through town.

"That is new thing and it sounds really neat," said Brown-Ellis about the cruise. She encourages the public to stand along Main Street to watch the vehicles go by.

Also June 30 are the 2012 Junior Miss and Miss Sweetcorn and the Mr. and Miss Red, White and Blue pageants at the East Prairie High School Auditorium. The 2012 Mr and Miss Red, White, and Blue Pageant is open to girls up to age12 and boys up to age 3 from all communities. The Junior Miss contest is open to girls ages 13-15 while the Miss Sweetcorn contest is for girls ages 16-18 from all communities.

Doors open for the public at 9:15 a.m. and contests start at 10 a.m. Entry deadline is June 27 with entry forms and information available at:

At 7 p.m. June 30 at the East Prairie High School gym is the community's annual "Puttin' On the Hits" contest. There are three divisions of competition with prizes of $125, $75 and $50 awarded the winners in each division.

Activities resume July 3 with a petting zoo and pony rides behind the Depot BBQ throughout the day.

At 5 p.m. is the Elm Street Church Party on the Main Street parking lot featuring gospel music. Main Street is closed off at 9 p.m. July 3 for a street dance.

There will be bands, floats, horses, pageant participants and politicians featured in the Fourth of July Parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m. with line up at the Doyle Street School.

"It's a good way to spend the Fourth of July," said Brown-Ellis. "And the fireworks wrap everything up."

The fireworks display is scheduled for 9 p.m. July 4 the East Prairie High School football field.

For more information about events contact the East Prairie Chamber of Commerce at 573-649-5243.

Map of pertinent addresses

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