NORWELL, MA (9/27/2022) – With perfect fall-like conditions predicted throughout the weekend, the South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center’s team of staff and volunteers expected a strong turnout to the 45th Annual Corn Festival in Norwell. As Saturday morning dawned and the attendees began to arrive, the team knew it was in for a wonderful celebration of autumn on the South Shore.
“This event supports our Y’s mission to give families more opportunities, events, and experiences that can be enjoyed together,” said Paul Gorman, President and CEO of the South Shore YMCA. “The successful return of Corn Festival, on pause since 2019 due to the pandemic, symbolizes a big step toward returning to normal life for area families and children. We are pleased to see such a grand turnout.”
By the end of the two-day event, more than 1,000 families had wandered through the festival for pony rides, hay wagon rides, a hay maze, games, crafts and more. Performers and demonstrators, including popular area musicians, storytellers, Indigenous traditions educators, and more welcomed and entertained the multigenerational crowd. Festival goers feasted on the SSYMCA Natural Science Center’s “world famous” corn chowder, participated in corn shucking contests, experimented with growing corn in the Corn Lab and met 4-H animals up close, a traditional farm life experience brought to center stage. Two local residents showed off their estimation skills and won 3-month YMCA Family Memberships. Kiera McAuliffe of Abington correctly gauged the weight of the “giant” pumpkin and Ron Leung of Quincy guessed the number of candy corn in the jar (621, and he guessed it exactly).
The 45th Annual Corn Festival embraced a child’s view of fun and fascination. This year’s crowd may have been influenced by TikTok sensation “Corn Kid” Tariq, whose viral video about corn caught fire just in time for corn harvest festivals across the country. Event organizers sought corn jokes, corn puns and interesting corn facts to share, keeping the vibe light, ‘corn-tastically’ fun, and even a little corny.
Professor Jim’s Corn Lab provided quality STEM education opportunities to young attendees. Eighty-nine-year-old volunteer, Jim Spinale, a retired science teacher from the Whitman-Hanson school district, grew corn at home for the event – sideways, upside-down, in the dark, with and without fertilizer, etc. – to share with the kids. Each interested child had the opportunity to plant a corn seed and bring it home. As a result, there may be as many as 450 new corn plants on the South Shore this year.
“Providing families with activities that let them play, discover, and stay active together at any age is what we do every day at the Y,” said Gorman. The South Shore YMCA offers free family-centric activities and events each week for family members across the South Shore at the Emilson Y in Hanover, Hale Family Y in Quincy, South Shore Early Learning Centers in Hanover and Quincy, the SSYMCA Natural Science Center in Norwell, and Laura’s Center for the Arts and SSYMCA Family Farm, both located in Hanover. For a full list visit ssymca.org/familyfun.
“Special thanks to our sponsors, presenting partners, and volunteers,” said Dan Berry, Executive Director of the Emilson YMCA and South Shore Natural Science Center. “It was wonderful to bring together their talent and support to create a joyful family event that entertained thousands.” Participating partners included Big Ryan’s Puppet Show, South Shore Woodturners, Tim Turner/Pimoth Patuxet, 4H Club, Wampanoag Traditions, Hornstra Farms, Gallagher Construction, Nessralla Farms, Cross Street Flower Farm, Colonial Interpreters Bob and Donna Hale, Karen Woodhall and Dave Jackson, Paul Doolittle, Fred Meltzer, Chuck Vermette, and Tall Richard, with lead sponsors Bostonian Cleaning & Restoration, South Shore Bank and South Shore Playhouse.
“It was great to get out and enjoy such a fun day as a family,” said new dad, Jim Fagan, who attended Corn Festival for the first time along with friends and family, including his 6-month-old son, Connor. “The Science Center is a beautiful spot, and we had a blast exploring all the trails and activities. We’ll be back!”
The South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center sits on a 30-acre parcel of forest with easily negotiable trails that pass through various habitat types found on the South Shore. It’s home to the Nature Center Preschool and the Nature Adventures Day Camp. Founded in 1962, the Science Center is celebrating its 60th year as a South Shore institution.
About the South Shore YMCA
The South Shore YMCA is a leading charitable organization dedicated to strengthening community through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind, and body. Serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and beyond, the South Shore Y provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through its services and programs. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, visit www.ssymca.org. The South Shore YMCA. The Better You Belongs Here.
About the South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center
Founded in 1962, the South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center has been active in environmental education for almost 50 years, working with area schools “to cultivate an awareness, appreciation, and concern for” the natural world. Through our Nature Center Preschool and Nature Adventures Camps, we offer hands-on, interactive environmental and STEM education programs for preschoolers through Grade 12 — in schools, at the Science Center, at our seashore, riverways, and local nature preserves. To learn more, visit southshorenaturalsciencecenter.org.