A Brief History of the Old Fashioned Corn Roast Festival

This weekend, many will flock to Loveland’s favorite summer tradition – the Old Fashioned Corn Roast Festival. Every year, people come from around the state (and beyond!) to witness a true hometown event that celebrates the community’s agricultural roots and history built upon feasting on fresh corn.

The annual August event has been held since 1982, but its roots date back to 1894. It started as a feast to feed the town, and roasted corn was the star of the show. The event was also created to attract visitors from Denver that arrived via stagecoach. During the three-day festival, guests could enjoy horse races, a street carnival, sing-alongs, speeches, and more. In 1910, organizers arranged for the appearance of a Wright Brothers aeroplane. Other exciting activities were also added, including baseball games, dances, bronco busting, and fireworks.

W.L. Thorndyke, editor of the Reporter Herald in 1892, described the festival: “It was a carnival of conviviality, a holocaust of happiness, a landslide of luxury, a whirlwind of wonder, an aggregation of amusement, and a blizzard of bewilderment showing what this portion of Colorado can produce, and explaining why people come to this place instead of settling elsewhere.”

After Fort Collins stopped hosting the county fair in 1893, Loveland eventually added the fair as an extension to the Corn Roast Festival in 1912. A new fairground was built just south of downtown, along the Big Thompson River. The Larimer County Fair overshadowed the traditional Corn Roast Festival until 1982 when it was revived as a community event.

The festival is now held in Downtown Loveland and kicks off with a corn shucking competition on Friday night, followed by bands and entertainment. Saturday the event includes the Corn Roast Parade, corn eating contest, corn hole tournament and more.

2019 Schedule of Events
Friday, August 23rd

5:00 – 5:30pm Kick off! Introduce Grand Marshal and Sponsors
5:30pm Corn Shucking Contest
5:00-10:00pm Beer Garden
5:00-10:00pm Food, Vendors, Amusements & Roasted Corn
5:00-10:00pm Kids Zone LIVE Interactive Arts
8:00-10:00pm LIVE MUSIC: Soul School

Saturday, August 24th

6:30-9:30am Elks Lodge Pancake Breakfast
9:30am Parade – Announced by George Gray with Pirate Radio 93.5FM
10:00am-8:00pm Food, Vendors, Roasted Corn
11:00am-8:00pm Kids Zone LIVE Interactive Arts
11:00am-8:00pm Corn sales and Beer Garden Open
12:00-2:00pm LIVE MUSIC: Funky Business
3:00-5:00pm LIVE MUSIC: Wendy Woo
4:00pm Loveland Rotary Duck Race
6:00-8:00pm LIVE MUSIC: Steve Manshel
8:00pm Event Closes

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