Jason Knox bought a one-acre lot in Wadena about 12 years ago. He said he got tired of mowing it each week and instead decided to plant sweet corn.
"An acre of sweet corn is a lot, so we told people, 'Help yourself,'" said Knox.
People did help themselves. So many, in fact, it turned into a community event known as CornFest.
CornFest started seven years ago and is now something people in the small town look forward to each year.
"Are we going to have one? When's the date? Let us know," said G.W. "Barney" Bond.
G.W. Bond previously owned Barney's Bar in Wadena for more than 40 years. He offered a grassy area behind the business for the festival.
While Jason Knox owns the land that grows the corn, he said it's local farmers who care for the land and plant the crop.
"The seed dealers in the area have been really generous and have donated the seeds," he said. "One year we were decimated by hail, and Harrington Sweet Corn by Nashua actually donated 500 ears to replace our crop."
Volunteers pick, husk and cook the corn on site.
"People in town will bring side dishes, so it's a potluck with corn. The local locker here will donate some bratwursts," said Jason Knox.
Last year, CornFest served 600 ears of corn. This year's crop is behind schedule, but CornFest will go on.
"We will have it," said G.W. Bond.
Through the years, CornFest has evolved into a fundraiser for the town. This year, proceeds from the free dinner go to three groups. One of those is the Wadena Public Library.
CornFest continues each year because of volunteers and donations, but it all started because Knox was willing to share his land with the community.
This year's CornFest is Friday at Barney's in Wadena at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to the event.
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