In 41st year, Corn Fest adds karaoke, free Wi-Fi

August 23, 2018

DeKALB – The 41st annual DeKalb Corn Fest will be the first one to offer free Wi-Fi.

DeKalb Corn Fest chairwoman Lisa Angel said the company Digital Lobby, which is trying to launch a shared community Wi-Fi network between the city and Northern Illinois University, will test its service at the three-day event.

“It’ll be nice to have them launch then and have them test it out with so many people downtown,” Angel said.

This year’s Corn Fest is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Look for a complete guide to the festival in Friday’s Daily Chronicle.

Digital Lobby President Kevin Niebergall said 13 DeKalb businesses were invited to participate in a 60-day free trial of the service starting with the test launch this weekend, which also will help with tracking festival attendance along with keeping basic demographic information of users who log in to better target Wi-Fi home page advertising.

He said the goal is to have the agreement finalized after the trial run and for the free network to become a permanent fixture within the city and NIU.

“It’s really awesome for the city because it really connects the whole community,” Niebergall said.

Angel said the festival also will have a live band for karaoke from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the community stage. She said that is a new component of the festival this year and was added after Corn Fest staff thought it would be fun to give festival attendees the chance to perform this time around.

“For anyone that has dreams of being a rock star, they can do that,” Angel said.

Other planned activities for Corn Fest this year include a carnival, a craft fair, a car show, tours of historic downtown DeKalb, a bags tournament, performances on the community and sound stages and a beer garden.

Another featured activity will include a Commodity Carnival, an interactive experience produced by the National 4-H Council and CME Group where young fairgoers can learn about managing the business risks and costs associated with producing and bringing livestock to market.

Corn Fest now attracts tens of thousands of people from across Illinois. The event remains one of the last free summer music festivals in Illinois and was named one of Best Things Illinois’ top 15 free things to do in the state.

There is a $5 admission to the soundstage each day, with children age 12 and younger admitted free, or everyone can watch and listen to the bands for free from Locust Street.

For information about DeKalb Corn Fest, visit cornfest.com.

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