NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Roger Galippo’s phone was ringing off the hook one morning this week.
The calls were coming from vendors still hoping to get in on this weekend’s 39th annual North Ridgeville Corn Festival.
The continued interest comes even as this year’s festival is closing in on the all-time record for festival vendors, according to Galippo, who is in charge of vendors and festival booths.
“We’re at about 110 to 112 right now, and we might edge over,” Galippo said. “I had six phone calls this morning, and we’re still hearing from a few others.”
The fest’s all-time record for vendors is 115.
True to the heart of a good promoter, Galippo ticked off a new vendor from Elyria who festival organizers are banking on to draw a crowd.
“We’ve got this guy this year who’s a bit different in that he has a wood-fired brick oven for making pizza,” Galippo said.
A returning favorite is Eric Small, who hauls his “The Chicken Smells Good” wagon from Alexandria, Va.
“He makes it a point to be here every year,” Galippo said of Small, who serves up treats such as chicken kabobs.
While about half of the festival’s vendors are from Lorain County and the immediate area, others travel from Kentucky and other states.
“We have had between 80 to 90 vendors in the past, so having this many this year is really something special,” said Kathy Chafetz of the Corn Festival Committee.
One way in which the festival tries to thank returning vendors for their loyalty is to move them to spots on the festival grounds along Bainbridge Road where higher foot traffic is expected.
“We’ve had several vendors tell us when the Cuyahoga County Fair is the same time as the Corn Festival (which it is this year), they’d come to us,” Galippo said. “That surprised me, because the Cuyahoga fair draws out of a huge area for a whole week while we have three days.”
Galippo said he believes they appreciate how the Corn Festival treats them.
“It’s all about getting the right mix of vendors,” Galippo said. “It’s an unwritten rule that we have no more than two of each commodity. Instead of having five pizza sellers, we admit only two. If you have five of the same thing, odds are nobody makes any money.”
Beer is sold at one location, and organizers work to maintain a family atmosphere.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.