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Taste of DeKalb, DeKalb Corn Classic 10K fill Van Buer Plaza

September 24, 2018

The Trucktober Fest at Faranda’s was a big start for the Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary Club’s grant celebration in 2018. This year’s event, Taste of DeKalb, already had attracted hundreds more people before it officially opened Sunday morning.

The Rotary club partnered with the DeKalb Corn Classic 10K, which formerly was held during Corn Fest, to bring local food vendors and free live entertainment to the community and to the racers after they crossed the finish line near Van Buer Plaza.

“We wanted to expand our event, and while Trucktober Fest was a great first-year experience, we had 75 people during the whole day. We already have about 300,” Rotary member Jim MacMundo said about the turnout when the Taste of DeKalb began at 10 a.m. “We wanted to partner with the race to bring our event to a wider audience. I’m tickled to death everyone is enjoying themselves.”

Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary has awarded $10,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations the past two years, and the club wanted to host a community celebration in recognition.

This year’s recipients were the DeKalb Public Library to start an after-school program, Hope Haven and Girl Scouts.

Scott Zeimet, president of Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary, said the organization’s focus is on supporting smaller organizations that help local children and families.

“We want to make this an annual event, and we hope to make a sizable impact in the community,” Zeimet said. “Our goal next year is to give even larger grants and host more activities. We’re trying to create positive energy in our community.”

DeKalb County Community Gardens received a portion of last year’s grant, which went directly to maintenance of its truck that delivers produce all over the county.

“We were able to purchase chairs, tables and money for gas,” DeKalb County Community Gardens board President Moria Nagy said. “We’re one of the only organizations that do what we do here. Our produce goes directly to people in the community to those who need it the most.”

DeKalb native and Rotary member Marshall Boyle, who was greeting runners as they crossed the finish line, said Sunday’s race, followed by the Taste of DeKalb, was what Corn Fest used to be like.

“This is a great race that connects the community with the college, and every vendor here is local,” he said. “Taste of DeKalb is really a taste of DeKalb. We’re excited because we can brand Rotary and our grant with DeKalb. The goal of everyone is to bring DeKalb back to DeKalb and to do good for all the nonprofits.”

Many of the people who packed Van Buer Plaza on Sunday morning had just finished the 10K race, which had a new course this year featuring live music along a route that ran across Huskie Stadium. The Northern Illinois University Marching Band was playing music in the stadium stands, and the NIU Steel Drum band performed as runners passed the music building.

Cohen Barnes, president of DeKalb Corn Classic 10K, said that because of the new course, registrations had more than doubled compared with last year, which was held during Corn Fest.

“We wanted to change the course to celebrate all the beautiful things in DeKalb like our brick streets, our park system and river and the NIU campus,” he said. “So many people are proud of this community. We think this will be the best 10K in northern Illinois.”

Runner Cheri Kranz of DeKalb loved the course and said it was a scenic tour of the city’s neighborhoods.

“It was awesome. I got to see a lot of beautiful things when we ran by the park and river,” she said. “And it was great having so many NIU students cheering us on along the route.”

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