CAMP VERDE – A year ago, and for the first time in more than 25 years, Cornfest was not a part of Camp Verde’s summertime culture.
A cornucopia of corn, corn-related games, food and crafty vendors, and vintage baseball games were nowhere to be seen in Camp Verde last July.
One of the town’s signature events, Cornfest will be back in 2019, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Division Manager Mike Marshall has said time and time again since he first proposed that his department take on the responsibility of manning the town’s big events.
At Wednesday’s work session, Marshall told the Camp Verde Town Council that his department needs a full-time recreation leader whose primary duties would include coordinating those events.
“This would allow us an additional person to handle task-level stuff as opposed to hiring an event coordinator,” Marshall said. “I prefer a collaborative team. Staff could focus on what we need to do, and it allows staff to be more knowledgeable.”
But volunteers, Marshall said, will always be part of the town’s plan for putting on the events.
“We intend to use volunteers as much as we can,” Marshall said. We certainly feel we can attract volunteers.”
Cornfest = 1-day event
But Cornfest, Marshall said, would at least for now be a one-day event.
“One of the issues with Cornfest is that it’s extremely hot – and extremely weather dependent,” Marshall told council. “And these two factors limit the event’s growth. That doesn’t mean it can’t get twice as big. But then, why can’t Fort Verde Days be twice as big?”
Citing a “high percentage of rainout at 4 p.m. because of monsoons” and the unenviable task of roasting corn in 110-plus degree temperatures, Marshall said that Parks and Recreation is “not intending Cornfest to be small on purpose, just smaller than the other events.”
By other events, he specifically meant the “unofficial homecoming event” that is Fort Verde Days, and the “two-day upscale event” that is the Spring Heritage Pecan and Wine Festival.
Parks and Recreation would also continue to coordinate the annual Halloween event known as Trunk or Treat, as well as the annual Christmas Craft Bazaar and Parade of Lights.
Though Council Member Joe Butner said he would like to see Cornfest “be big,” other council members discussed a different date for the summer event.
But Marshall said that Cornfest, at least in 2019, would continue as it has, on the third weekend in July.
“As a starting point,” he said. Right now we’re not proposing a wholesale change to the event.”
Marshall’s proposal can be found in council’s March 13 agenda, at the town’s website, www.campverde.az.gov.
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42
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