Who knew those delicious little yellow kernels were so versatile? Maize—better known as corn—can be a vegetable, starch, sweet or buttery treat: Roast it, barbecue it, on the cob, on the grill, in a husk, in a stalk and in a can. In honor of Illinois’ role as the heart of the corn belt, Chicago Parent Going Places compiled this corny to-do list.
Corn roasts and fests
DeKalb Corn Fest. From Aug. 25-27, this is one of the area’s largest corn festivals. Get your free steamed corn during the corn boil 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 26, where more than 10,000 ears of corn will be given away. Free admission and parking. Call (815) 748-CORN (2676) or visit www.cornfest.com.
31st Annual Urbana Sweet Corn Festival. Downtown Urbana is one huge corn party Aug. 25-26. Visit the kids’ area for pony rides and a petting zoo after grabbing an ear. Kids can meet "Corny" the mascot. The festival kicks off 5-11 p.m. Aug. 25 and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 26. Call (217) 344-3872 or visit www.urbanabusiness.com.
Pick up a bag or two from your local grocery store, and celebrate Halloween in style. Kids will love these sweet, sticky treats. Give them as goodie bags to trick-or-treaters.
Corn Productions at the Cornservatory. A Chicago theater with "corn" in it—who knew? The Cornservatory seats up to 60 people so don’t miss their Halloween-inspired show, "Don’t Turn Out the Lights 2: The Return of Scruffy Muffelkiss," starting Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. Saturday
and Sunday for eight weeks, ages 5 and up.
Tickets are $10 adults, $5 12 and under. Box office accepts only cash. Call (312) 409-6435 or visit
No story about corn could be complete without popcorn. Don’t worry if kids are addicted to this salty snack. It packs more fiber than other junk food.
Garrett Popcorn Shops. There are five Chicago locations for Garrett. Grab "The Chicago mix"—a combination of cheese and caramel popcorn. The small size is $4.68, and the jumbo is $13.75. Store hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Call (312) 360-1108 or visit www.garrettpopcorn.com.
There are many, but here are three suggestions:
Green Acres Farm. Get lost in a corn field in Pekin from Sept. 18-Oct. 31. There are 16 acres of mazes for kids to explore. Hours vary daily. Check Web site for times and prices. Call (866) FUN-MAZE or visit www.cornfieldmaze.com.
Kuipers Family Farm. Visit the Amazing Maize Maze and Cornstalk Cavern in Maple Park. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday in September and October. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday in November and December. Call (815) 827-5200 or visit www.kuipersfamilyfarm.com.
Sandy Pine Elk Farm. In Deer Grove, this is not too far from Tampico, and it’s about two hours directly west of Chicago. (Much closer for our west suburban readers.) From Sept. 1-Oct. 31, the corn and the soy mazes are going, as are the bugling of the elks. But the best part comes 6-10 p.m. Oct. 20, 21, 27 and 28—flashlight nights in the maze. Call (815) 438-2463 or visit www.sandypineelkfarm.biz.
Leftover corn on the cob? Cut it right off and you can make tasty corn muffins, cornbread, corn casseroles or corn fritters. For ideas, visit www.epicurious.com,
OK, this is not food, but the hairstyle is cool. Some salons specialize in this creation. Here are two:
Yacine Hair Braiding. Cornrows are $50 to $80, depending on hair length. This Bellwood store is open 9 a.m-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m-6 p.m. Sunday. Call (708) 547-8232 for an appointment.
Panache Hair Designs. Price is $90, depending on hair length and style. This Oak Park store is open 6 a.m-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 6 a.m-2 p.m. Saturday by appointment only. Call (708) 386-8836 or visit www.panachecorp.com.