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High-wire Act

Traditional Corn Festival opener a barrel of fun for everyone

Morris Fire Department rushes their opponent, Newark Fire Department, during the Water Fights Wednesday night at Corn Fest in Morris.
Morris Fire Department rushes their opponent, Newark Fire Department, during the Water Fights Wednesday night at Corn Fest in Morris.

After 41 years of participating in the fire department water fights at the Grundy County Corn Festival, Charlie Boyd of the Braidwood Fire Department knows the key.

“It’s harder than you think,” said Boyd. But as long as you get the barrel off the wire some and slap it with water, you’ll win it.

Unfortunately, Braidwood didn’t get the barrel quite off the wire enough before Manhattan Fire Department took it over.

The Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District water fights put area fire departments against each other in a hose fight. The firemen shoot water from their hoses at a small barrel in the air and try to force it down a wire to the other department’s side.

The teams have four firemen each. The back firefighters guide the firefighter leading the hose since he or she can’t see much while being sprayed in the face with the water bouncing off the barrel.

Sandwich Fire Department took home the first-place trophy. Lisle-Woodridge took second and Hinckley fire took third place.

Although Braidwood was out in the first round, it was still a good time.

“It’s all about having fun,” said Josh Bolatto of the Braidwood department.

The water fights annually kick off Corn Festival by being the first Corn Festival event on the Wednesday night.

Hundreds of people line Washington Avenue to watch the firefighters. As the adults hide under awnings, the children run toward the hose spray and jump in the puddles.

This year, 14 area departments participated in the event, said Jake Niewinski of the Morris department.

“It’s a sense of pride. It’s not just for trophies. It’s a pride and tradition thing,” he said. “It’s a tradition and kind of kicks off Corn Fest.”

Niewinski said throughout the year fire departments travel to different towns competing in water fights.

The Wiekert family of Morris watches the water fights annually, said Sandy Wiekert.

“They’re awesome!” said Coral Wiekert. Although she was sitting on the curb of Washington Street, only her fingers got wet.

“Because I’m messing around in the puddles,” she said.


10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Farm Fair - Main Street

9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. — Art Show – Morris Area Library

11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Taste of C.F – Franklin and Main

1:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. — Stagecoach Rides - depart Wauponsee and Jefferson Streets

4:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. — Train Rides - depart courthouse

5:00 p.m. — Spotlight on Grundy County Dancers - Jackson Street Stage

5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  — Carnival - Wristbands $16

5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. — ”Mr. D’s House of Magic” - Grundy County Sheriff’s Department west parking lot

7:00 p.m. — High School Bands perform – Jackson Street Stage, Liberty and Jackson streets

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