Roasted Corn Takes Coordination

One of the classic treats enjoyed at the Wisconsin State Fair each year is a roasted ear of corn. Although it is only enjoyed for 11 days at the State Fair, the planning and coordination last throughout the year.

Eric Young is the Chairman of the New Berlin Lions Club’s roasted corn stand. He shares more about what it takes to haul in fresh corn daily to the fair and how they prepare for the next year.

Young says that his roasted corn stand serves about 10% of fairgoers each year. With around one million visitors to the fair each year, that means that the stand must prepare for 100,000 customers. Further, the stand prides itself on providing fresh corn, so they have to find a way to bring in a flow of 100,000 ears of corn throughout the 11 day fair.

Young says that they source their corn from Alsum Sweet Corn in Randolph. He adds that they used to source corn from Illinois, but a few years back they decided they wanted to provide fresh Wisconsin sweet corn. The corn is picked daily by Alsum and hauled to State Fair Park while the fair is closed. This ensures that fairgoers are receiving a fresh product daily.

Alsum Sweet Corn hauls in fresh corn daily

Young goes on to add that the stand has around 1,300 shifts that volunteers fill throughout the fair to serve corn. The proceeds from the corn roast are donated to a variety of organizations, so they rely heavily on volunteer work. Young explains that sourcing for volunteers this year has proved difficult, but many people have taken on more shifts to keep things running.