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Lend a neighbor an ear

By Staff | Aug 8, 2014

Karl Koehmstedt (left) and Jesse Bohl load up another round of corn to be cooked at the Little Flower Cornfeed on Aug. 3 at Balta Dam

Even the number on the Little Flower Church sign seemed modest for the self-reporting cornfeed organizer.

“Everyone came.

975 Served.

Thank you.”

A greater estimate would be reasonable as a mass of people covered the Balta Dam recreation area Aug. 3. A sunny, breezy day brought hundreds of Little Flower parishioners and others from all over the area to the church’s annual summer gathering.

Children took a dip in the cool water and hundreds young and old enjoyed meals at picnic tables.

“It just gets everybody together before harvest starts and school starts,” said Fr. Tom Graner, Little Flower pastor. “The corn is good and easy to cook and the guys seem to have it down. I’m very pleased with the turnout and with the weather. Can’t complain about this at all.”

Brothers Don and Joe Schmaltz chaired the event this year and led a crew that worked morning to evening, cooking nearly 2,400 ears of corn and thousands of hot dogs. Don Schmaltz estimated about 75 total volunteers helped. The corn typically comes from Minnesota through Leever’s Foods in Rugby, but a late harvest had the corn coming from Indiana this year.

The cornfeed followed the Balta Derby as usual, and a quicker derby meant people pouring across the gravel road to the dam earlier.

“Last year, the derby got over about 6 (p.m.),” Don Schmaltz said. “This year was way earlier, so we’ve been feeding people since 3:30. We’ve fed more people from 3:30 to 6 than we did last year in the whole day.”

About 25 cornhuskers started the day early. For the sixth year, Jesse Bohl, Karl Koehmstedt and Chuck Chaffee led the cooks and constantly cycled bins of corn into the pressure cookers. Schmaltz said he didn’t expect his morning crew to stick around all day, but volunteers kept at it without prompting.

Patrons left the fundraiser happy after sinking their teeth into delicious corn dipped in the 36 pounds of butter used.

“It’s a community fundraiser, it’s community and that’s what it’s always been,” Schmaltz said. “It’s always a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding.”

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