SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — One of Sullivan’s oldest traditions officially returned Wednesday, marking day one of four for the annual Sullivan County Rotary Club’s “Corn Festival”.

After last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, event organizers said they anticipate 2021 to be one of their best years yet.

For resident Amanda Wheeler, this is a celebration the community has longed for since being postponed last year.

“It was just a big missing piece of the community,” Wheeler said. “I don’t know how many year or decades the Corn Festival has been around, but it was deeply missed last year.”

Carrie Baker, another Sullivan resident, said she appreciates the variety of activities offered at this celebration.

“Whether you’re younger or older, there is something for everyone to do,” she said. “My kids really enjoy coming out here.”

Last year, event organizers said the festival was cancelled due to local cases of COVID-19. A year later, Sullivan Rotary Club Marketing Director Patrice Hand said self responsibility will be part of ensuring all attendees are safe.

“We think COVID is something we are all going to have to live with so now, we’re just going to navigate it,” she said. “Last year, we trusted our officials information to help make a decision to cancel the event. The big thing we are asking people to do this year is if you feel sick, stay home.”

From rides and food to live music, there is no shortage of things to do at the Corn Festival. While the Sullivan County Rotary Club does not profit from this event, they hope this time serves to boost the local economy.

“We see more crowds at the Sullivan Corn Festival this time of year in the middle of September,” Hand said. “It’s a great way to bring in a lot of money for locals. We have a lot of local restaurants on the square.”

Agreeing with that statement is Amanda Wheeler, who said she has seen first hand the benefits downtown businesses get during festivities.

‘It pumps money into our economy, that’s a big win,” she said. “Plenty of people will stop in to get a drink or something to eat.”

No masks are required at the festival, but one change the fair is installing is a cover charge for those attending the live music.

“We had to fence in the area where the live music is being played,” Hand said. “This is the first time we are doing this ever. The sponsorships weren’t enough to pay it off so we ask people help chip in.”

Click on this link for a full list of events the Corn Festival plans to host.