The 17th annual Sweet Corn Festival returns to St. Cyprian’s Church in Franklin on Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s event promises to be a day of enjoyable activities and great food.
“This festival is a real celebration, and is a big part of our outreach to the community,” says Bill Crawford, festival chairman. “It’s a lot of work, but a labor of love. All of us who work on the festival have as much fun as the attendees.”
Food, with a lot of sweet corn, is always the focus of the festival. The long-standing celebration of corn existed in Franklin with the Cherokees, and continues now with the Sweet Corn Festival. The ancient Nikwasi Cherokee Mound between Main and Palmer Streets in Franklin had a constant burning fire that was only extinguished just before the Green-corn dance each year. More about this ancient celebration can be found in Barbara McRae’s book, “Franklin’s Ancient Mound.”
St. Cyprian’s Church provides a perfect venue for the event, with large shade trees, a meditative walking trail, and space for children’s activities and vendors’ tents. Attendance to the festival is free, but food, handmade arts and crafts, jewelry, baked goods, and recycled treasurers and collectibles will be available for purchase.
Entertainers are present throughout the day. The line-up includes Erik Hendrix, Dave Stewart, and Nikwasi Dulcimers. Two dance groups, the High Mountain Squares and Macon County Line Dancers, will take the stage midday.
Parking is available at St. Cyprian’s, but overflow parking with an optional shuttle is available at Dr. Shaller’s office on Roller Mill adjacent to the Kmart shopping center.
Historic St. Cyprian’s church was built in 1887 and was one of the first African American Episcopal churches in western North Carolina.
Today, St. Cyprian’s and St. Agnes churches are united as All Saints Episcopal Community.
“The corn festival was started by St. Cyprian’s members,” says Ruth Goodier, committee member and artist. “Then people from St. Agnes began helping with the event, and in time, a conversation about coming together began. We have also had help from St. John’s Episcopal members, and we join them several times a year for services.”
Festival attendees can tour the church and adjacent parish hall, which is shared with Mountain Synagogue.
Proceeds from the festival this year support the All Saints Community and CareNet. Other organizations have benefited from the event in years past, including Wesley’s Playground.
The Sweet Corn Festival will be Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Cyprian’s Church, 216 Roller Mill Road, Franklin.