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Ear-to-ear grins in Zellwood

Shucks, it's time to head to the annual sweet corn festival for music, crafts, good food and rides.

By WILMA NORTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 17, 2001


The Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival this weekend celebrates corn on the cob with gusto. A cooker called Big Bertha churns out 1,650 ears every nine minutes, and hungry visitors can eat as many as they want, all day long.

The Orange County festival started small in the 1970s as a community fundraiser. It has evolved into a two-day fete, complete with arts and crafts, camping, a carnival, country music (Willie Nelson is this year's headliner) and corn, corn, corn.

Every ear is grown just down the road from Zellwood at the Long & Scott Farms.

The 25,000 who attend each year set up lawn chairs and umbrellas, eat and listen to music.

Daily admission of $14 for adults and $5 for children gets a meal of ham, potato salad, baked beans and all the corn you can eat. It also gains you access to the arts and crafts displays and the concerts.

Only the carnival rides or additional concessions cost extra.

Saturday's musical acts include Jimmie Van Zant (12:45 and 2:30 p.m.), BTO (4 p.m.) and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (6 p.m.).

Willie Nelson is scheduled to appear at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, after Grand Ole Opry mainstay Del Reeves hits the stage about 2.

Local bands and corn shucking and eating contests are also part of the weekend. The festival encourages blankets, lawn chairs and umbrellas, but does not allow tents, tarps, screen rooms, coolers, Frisbees or pets. Gates are open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, two hours longer than last year.

PREVIEW

The Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Zellwood is in northwest Orange County off U.S. 441 between Orlando and Mount Dora. For information, call the festival office at (407) 886-0014.

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