MONTROSE – A decision to cancel the annual Olathe Sweet Corn Festival was "absolutely financial," according to its director, who said the town's council unanimously agreed last week that mounting expenses made it impossible to hold in 2013.
The festival, held each year in early August, was readying for its 22nd year when town officials decided last week to cancel it this year. They hope to host the festival again in 2014.
"It was absolutely financial; there were no other issues other than that," said Bobby Sale, the festival's director. "The board was very positive about looking into next year to possibly bring it back next year.
The town of Olathe is the festival’s sole backer, and has debated in recent years whether or not to continue hosting the celebration, due to rising costs and lack of profit during the economic downturn.
In early 2011 officials sweetened the deal, growing it from a one-day festival to two, with the goal of selling 20,000 tickets to build a profit.
And in 2011 the festival experienced an increase in long-distance attendance, with some festivalgoers coming from as far away as North Carolina, Florida and Oregon. That same year, Parade magazine listed the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival as America’s 17th best food festival in its “Eat your way across America: 50 states, 50 fabulous food festivals."
An estimated 70,000 ears of corn, 500 pounds of butter and 300 pounds of salt were devoured at the height of the two-day festival. Each year, the ears of Olathe Sweet Sweet Corn was donated by the Tuxedo Corn company founder and farmer John Harold.
For more information about the festival, visit www.olathesweetcornfest.com.