Few foods speak "summer" to me like corn on the cob. It has to be locally grown and fresh picked from the field, preferably that day. Locals have their favorite farms and stands they frequent. Counter debates at the local diner will compare local farmers’ produce like it was a favorite sports team, but touting characteristics like color, sweetness, and flavor. They do all agree on one thing, however: sweet corn is a summer meal essential.
Let me share with you two great opportunities to enjoy our region’s corn. One will be for flavor, one for an experience.
3rd annual Crown Point Corn Festival
Coming up on Saturday, August 24, the town of Crown Point will host its 3rd annual Corn Festival sponsored by the Penfield Homestead Museum. It’s held in the afternoon, from 1:30 until about 6 p.m. The setting is awesome; a quaint country cabin sitting among corn fields and surrounded by serene woods, a creek, and a bountiful garden. This property is privately owned, but opens to the public to enjoy the bounty of the freshest sweet corn and produce imaginable, all raised and picked steps from where it’s prepared.
This festival began as a fundraiser for the town to preserve their historic railroad station building with a few dozen residents and friends in attendance. It has grown into quite an event that welcomes anyone with an appetite and interest for locally grown produce for an afternoon of fun, great music, and company. Proceeds continue to go toward preserving the railroad building and its key architectural details.
I attended last year and certainly will be going back. The focus of the feast is sweet corn, of course, freshly picked from the surrounding field. I would not be exaggerating if I said it was the best corn on the cob I have ever eaten. Add to that a garden salad, the ingredients of which were also raised in the beautiful on-site garden. Corn fritters were also available topped with locally produced maple syrup. Last year, DaCy Meadow Farm was on site with some of their home grown meat options and so was Ledge Hill Brewing Company with thirst quenching refreshments.
We spent the afternoon being entertained by great music performed by the groups Just Passin’ Thru and Town Meeting, which was a mixture of bluegrass, country, and folk music. This year the music will be performed by Ploughman’s Lunch and Crackin’ Foxy, which will expand on this music genre a bit with a hint of gypsy jazz. There will be kids games, Penelope the Clown, and a silent auction.
Each attendee gets five tickets for $5. Tickets are used for food and additional tickets can be purchased. Bring a lawn chair to relax for the afternoon. It’s a great gathering with a relaxed, jovial vibe.
A corn maze adventure
Here’s an opportunity to have a bit of challenge and adventure among those stalks that bring you the tasty summer treat. Fort Ticonderoga offers the Heroic Corn Maze every year beginning in August; this year it opens on the tenth. The setting couldn’t be more perfect: on the shore of Lake Champlain adjacent to the historic fort and King’s Garden.
Yes, you can get lost in this life-size puzzle with a pattern that changes every year, but you also can exit quickly if needed. This thing is huge — over six acres! The maze is divided into two phases, so you can customize your experience and still have a challenge. There is also a Kiddie Maze specifically designed for youngsters that is recommended for children up to age four with adult supervision.
As you make your way around this living puzzle, you are guided by history-themed clues. You can also take the “Captain a Ship” maze quest where you complete a quest card by collecting a stamp from each station. It does take perseverance and skill to find all the objects needed to collect the stamps.
Exploring the maze is included with general admission to Fort Ticonderoga, but on two special nights this year, October 25 and 26, you can experience the maze after closing hours during the Maze By Moonlight. This runs from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., with the last ticket sold at 9 p.m. Cost is $10 per person.
A few things to know: Be sure to wear sturdy shoes; sandals or flip-flops are not a good idea. Be aware that the maze might close if weather makes for slippery conditions. Treat this living work of art with respect — stay on the paths and cause no harm to those beautiful stalks. Everyone should be able to enjoy a beautiful experience.
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