Iowa State Fair: Free Sweet Corn Impressing Texans

DES MOINES, Iowa — In recent years the Iowa State Fair has been home to a free sweet corn feed.  Friday was the day this year, as hundreds lined up in rain coats to get a free ear of tasty fresh cooked sweet corn slathered in butter.

The corn is donated by Ron Deardorff of Adel.  Mike Elsberry of Ogden does the cooking in a huge cooker on wheels.  He cooks 200-300 ears every six minutes to get the corn ready for hungry fair-goers. They cook between 1,200 and 1,500 ears. “It’s always a big deal,” said Elsberry. “You got people lined up here,” he added.

Many people are on hand to enjoy the corn. James Weaver is a pastor in Urbandale, but he hails from Waco, Texas.  This year he brought his old friend from Waco to the State Fair.  “This, how do you say it…Deardorff Sweet Corn, is awesome,” said Weaver.

Weaver’s friend Eddie Sherman said he really liked the corn, but was really impressed with the Iowa State Fair. “I’m comparing it to the Texas State Fair, seems like a lot more to see here,” he said.  As to food, he says the Texas Fair has nothing like the sweet corn they enjoyed today.

As the corn no doubt needs rain in the fields, no one was complaining about the wait in the rain for a few minutes.  Even eating in the rain, there was a spirit of fun at this bit of free lunch.



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