Before I started my internship here at IL Corn this summer, I was informed that I would have to dress up as Captain Cornelius at several events this summer. While I did not look forward to sweating profusely in a costume in 90 degree heat, I was excited for the opportunity. I mean, who doesn’t want to dress up and act crazy while dressed as corn? No one? Just me? Okay…
After several stints in the costume for various photos and videos we did here at the office, which you can see on our YouTube channel, I came across my first event to attend as Captain Cornelius. Last night, we had an event at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, a south suburb of Chicago. The Normal Cornbelters were playing the Windy City Thunderbolts.
An hour before the game was to begin, we were set up on the main concourse. Myself, dressed as Captain Cornelius, waved to children and took pictures with many kids for a chance to win a gift card to Mariano’s. Along with me was a farmer, Jim Robbins, from Will County, to help pass out freebies and talk with consumers about our fields and environment.
Right before the game was to begin, I was able to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was not a strike, but it did make it across the plate, or somewhere close to it. That wasn’t too bad for being inside the costume and not really being able to see out of it. Throughout the game, we walked around and spoke with kids and their parents about farming and their chances to win a gift card. I took numerous photos with kids, and even signed a few baseballs. It was pretty hard being the center of attention.
As we walked around, I heard many people talking about how I was just a piece of sweet corn, before being told that there are different types of corn, like dent, sweet, and popcorn. While there were many who called me sweet corn, there were also a good number of attendees who immediately told their children that I was field corn, and that I’m not the same thing as what you would eat at dinner time. It was refreshing to see and know that some efforts by the agriculture community are working to educate and communicate our practices with the consumers of the food we raise.
The best part of my night was when a little girl walked up to me and said, “My last name is Cornfield, so this is the best thing ever,” and then took a picture with Captain Cornelius. It’s the little things, I guess!
Want to come out and see Captain Cornelius in action? He and the crew will be out on August 2nd at Daley Plaza in Chicago and Silver Cross Field in Joliet, and also on August 13th at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. For a full schedule and other information, check out watchusgrow.org/corn