The Tecumseh Corn Fest has been named one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario — but it might be changing soon.
The Town of Tecumseh is reaching out to residents, looking for ideas to allow the corn fest to continue and prosper, even if that means changing some of its elements.
Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara said the in its current state, the festival isn't sustainable, despite having a lot of good qualities.
"It's an opportunity to bring families in ... it's been wonderful to see a lot of young kids there," said McNamara. "That's basically what the grassroots of the festival was when the Kingsmen Club [proposed it] back in 1973."
In recent years, McNamara said the festival has changed, especially with the addition of a beer tent.
"The latter years ... it was becoming more of a beer fest than a corn fest," said McNamara. "It really puts the municipality at a great risk. As a mayor, as an administration, it was becoming a real strain to the community."
According to McNamara, what was happening was essentially two festivals.
"You had folks come to the festival that were only there for the carnival, the entertainment, the food. Then you had the other group that would come in the evening and they were [there for] the beer tent. There was no cross-pollination within the festival," said McNamara, adding the municipality isn't in the "beer business" but in opportunities to bring families together.
Another unsustainable aspect of the festival was that it's not funded by a festival organization or the province — it's all paid for by the town. Some grant money comes in, but McNamara said that funding has been reduced.
McNamara doesn't think the corn fest will "disappear" but is looking to have a conversation for how it can be made better.
2020 would be the festival's 45th year. Residents can attend a public meeting on Feb.12 to share their views.