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Corn Festival celebrates 45 years, honors longtime volunteers

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The city kicked off its 45th annual Corn Festival Friday night, recognizing two sets of volunteers with the Golden Kernel award.

With perfect weather for the longstanding tradition, festival president John Butkowski welcomed attendees to this year's event, marveling at how long the city has kept the event going.

"It's hard to believe we've been doing this for 45 years, but it's been a lot of fun," he said.

Mayor David Gillock echoed similar remarks. This will be his last year introducing the festival as mayor, as he is not seeking reelection in November.

"I want to thank everyone in joining our city in celebrating another year of delicious sweet corn consumption, festivities and enjoyment," he said. "I hope everybody has a great time, it looks like we're going to have great weather."

For many families, the Corn Festival is a tradition — with generations feasting on sweet corn and funnel cakes while walking through the maze of vendor booths — and it is no different for the Mannings. State Rep. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and her son, Sen. Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, helped kick off this year's program, with Nathan Manning noting he's been to the past 37 corn festivals — calling it his "favorite festival around."

The Golden Kernel

Since 1991 the North Ridgeville Corn Festival Committee has selected a recipient for the Golden Kernel award, recognizing deserving volunteer's efforts. But this year, Butkowski said, the committee couldn't pick just one — instead awarding the honor to Roger Galippo and Gary and Toni Krone.

Roger Galippo has been involved in planning the Corn Festival for the past 23 years, serving as Booth Concessions Committee chairman for 20 of those. He is a 32nd degree Mason, formerly a member of the city's Planning Commission, active in the North Ridgeville Republican Club for 20 years and a volunteer with the city parks department for five years.

Gillock presented Galippo with a proclamation thanking him for his years of dedication to the city. Gayle and Nathan Manning had similar proclamations for Galippo as well.

"Roger is the type of guy that he did whatever you asked him to do," Gayle Manning said. "You'd call him up and he was there for you."

Nathan Manning added, "It's awesome when we can give a proclamation to someone that we know so well. I can call a very great friend who has been such a great friend to me and my family."

Over the years, Gary and Toni Krone always have tried to make North Ridgeville a better place to live, Butkowski said. The pair were presented the second Golden Kernel award this year, with the president noting their various areas of involvement in the city.

Gary Krone, a veterinarian, started Animal Clinic Northview. Long before the practice moved into its building on Center Ridge and Stoney Ridge roads, Gary Krone treated his patients out of the back of his truck. He and his wife have long been involved in the city's 4-H program and are both past presidents of North Ridgeville Kiwanis. Toni Krone is the adviser for the high school Key Club, seventh- and eighth-grade Builder Club and fifth- and sixth-grade K-Kids groups. She is also an organist at Grace Lutheran Church and a member of the North Ridgeville Arts Council. Gary Krone is an elder at the same church and a regular donor to the Vitalant Blood Bank.

Gillock thanked the Krones for their devotion and compassion to the city and its residents.

"Their kindness and generosity will be forever remembered by those lives they have touched and the people they have met," Gillock said.

The Mannings gave the couple proclamations as well, again thanking them for their commitment to the city.

Butkowski also recognized students who received scholarships from the committee: Brad Gerrity, Bryce Halterman, Emily Hiles, Jacob Jedlicka, Megan Knight and Ryan Moomaw.

The North Ridgeville Corn Festival runs through 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; free parking is available at the North Ridgeville Academic Center and High School lots, parking at St. Peter School and Church is $5. For a full schedule of events, visit nrcornfest.org.

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.



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