Kaylee Yaney, 4, of Cedar Lake has her face painted by Katie Sivac, 13 of St. John at the Crown Point Corn Roast. | Carrie Napoleon/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2014 6:04AM
CROWN POINT— Seven-year-old Hayley Wilson was on a mission Friday night at the city’s annual Corn Roast.
The Portage resident, salting her first ear of corn at the corn station, was out to eat five ears before the night was over.
“I love corn,” she said.
Her mom, Kim Wilson, said the family came out because Hayley’s dad and grandpa were working the corn tent sponsored by the South Lake County Shriners, the group that started the event that now brings thousands to the city’s historic downtown square over two days.
The festival is a celebration of summer, families, friends and food — all sorts of food, not just corn.
Blake Adams, 12, of Crown Point, got his first taste of chocolate-covered bacon on Friday. His brothers, Seth, 12, and Domonic, 13, and parents Sarah and Shawn all gave the trendy confection a try.
“It is amazing,” Blake exclaimed, emphasizing each word. “It’s a little bit on the crispy side.”
Domonic was not so enthused. He did not like the combination. Neither of the boys said they were fans of corn on the cob, but that was not going to stop their snacking plans.
“We are all enjoying the other food,” Sarah Adams said.
The family was not alone. Picnic tables saw a steady flow of diners munching on a variety of foods including pizza, pork chops, funnel cakes, shaved ice and gourmet hamburgers.
Norma and Ron “Big Dog” Duff, of Crown Point, made the corn stand their first stop of the night. The couple are Corn Roast veterans and knew exactly what they wanted.
Ron went for the pork chops being made by the South Lake County Republican Party, while Norma was on the hunt for a sweet treat.
“It’s just so homey,” she said of the festival, adding that they’ve enjoyed coming every year since they moved to the city.
“The only thing missing this year was the rain,” Ron said.
Last year, a torrential downpour slowed the festivities and food sales. On a cool night this year, corn sales were brisk.
Rich Wright, the event chairman for the Shriners, said by 5:30 p.m., they had sold as much corn as they had by 8 p.m. last year.
“This year is fantastic,” he said.
The Corn Roast continues Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.