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The Gamma Phi Circus will perform at The Sweet Corn Circus Festival at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday in Uptown Normal.

Summer is coming to an end, but not before the Town of Normal delivers heaps of corn to its citizens with a full out circus!

The first annual Sweet Corn Circus is the reimagined Sweet Corn Blues Festival, an annual Bloomington-Normal tradition for decades.

The town kept the main idea of the fest going, now with a greater focus on Bloomington-Normal’s circus and agricultural roots.

“We love this idea of Gamma Phi Circus taking a larger role in the first big event Illinois State University students see when they arrive in Normal each August,” Gamma Phi Artistic Director Ivan Stoinev stated.

The Sweet Corn Circus Festival will take place from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday in Uptown Normal. The festival is free to attend.

Gamma Phi Circus celebrated its 90th anniversary this past year during the April home show performance. What better way to welcome back ISU students than with a weekend of performances and of course, corn!

“I had a great time performing [last year], especially because a lot of families attend and make an awesome crowd for performances,” Gamma Phi Clown Act Captain Alisa Christensen said. “It was really easy to feed off their positive energy and laughter.”

The festival boasts more than 50,000 ears of fresh sweet corn, and encourages residents to come enjoy a wide variety of vendors and organizations lining the sidewalks along the streets of Uptown Normal.

Watch out for roaming street performers while munching on sweet corn and browsing the merchant tents.

Gamma Phi Circus offers performances for the whole family. Designated performance areas will be available to enjoy the fun and delicious food.

“I’m thrilled the festival is now The Sweet Corn Circus Festival. Circus culture has been a huge part of Normal’s history, and I think incorporating circus into the festival this year is a great way to honor that,” Christensen said.

Gamma Phi will perform at 10 a.m and 2 p.m. both days of the festival.

“Coming to Illinois State, I had no idea that Normal had such close ties to aerial circus acts, and I would love for that sort of history to become more prominent in the community,” Christensen said.

Another addition to the festival is the focus on local businesses, vendors, non-profits, service organizations and creating the space for them to connect with the people of Bloomington-Normal on a larger scale.

With the help of local volunteers, the process of cooking and distributing the sweet corn is one aspect of the festival that remains unchanged

The title may have changed, but the fest will deliver the same family and fun as it has for decades.

The celebration will continue until all the corn is gone, but if there’s something that Illinois has a lot of, it’s corn.

KOURTNEY CUNNINGHAM is a Features Reporter for The Vidette. She can be reached at klcunn1@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @kourtcunningham


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