Big wheels and big crowds could be found on Liberty Street as the 2012 Grundy County Corn Festival wrapped up Sunday.
Early in the afternoon, one attraction for festival-goers was the annual Kiwanis Big Wheels Races. Children in big wheels of all colors could be found at the starting line at Liberty and Washington Streets, waiting for their cue to start pedaling furiously to the end line at Main Street.
One competitor was Grace Lines, 8, of Morris. She ended up taking second place in her age group, with fellow 8- and 9-year-olds. It wasn't her first year, though.
"I've been in it three times, I think," she said, clutching a shiny trophy. "It's really fun — last year I got first place."
Lines said she usually places high among her peers, and that she was feeling good about her win this year.
"I feel happy," she said.
Lines' grandmother, Ruth Lines, also of Morris, said she's attended all 64 Corn Festivals and has been coming to the Big Wheels Races for as long as they've been held. The tradition for the Lines family is to head straight to downtown following Sunday morning church services.
"We haven't missed one of them yet," she said.
Lines said she enjoys coming to see special people in her life take part.
"My grandchildren are always in it," she said. "We've had quite a few winners."
A few hours later, crowds packed in along Washington and Liberty Street for the annual Corn Fest parade.
Bejeweled flag teams twirled colorful flags, marching bands played new and old tunes, and local fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles were on display, as were numerous local organizations and politicians. Children lining the streets waved at firefighters and received goodies and flyers from different floats.
After riding on a float for Donna Mueller's School of Dance with her two daughters, Macy, 6, and Madelyn, 3, Jennifer Shell of Morris said she was enjoying the afternoon and seeing the other participants in the parade.
"So far, it's been great," she said. "From what we've seen, it's been beautiful, and it's a beautiful day for it."
Shell said the crowds were a nice size this year, which added to the fun.
"It's always nice to see the streets lined with little ones excited to see the floats, and parents and grandparents taking pictures," she said.
Shell also said the parade, as well as Corn Fest, is fun because it shows that even though Morris is a small town, it has a bigger impact. In her family, she had relatives originally from Morris who live in Minnesota travel into town for the must-attend event.
"It's like a big reunion," she said.
Best Use of Corn Festival Theme, "Volunteers — The Heart of Our Community"
First Presbyterian Church
First place: Morris Chiefs
Second place: Immaculate Conception School
Third place: Spirit Cheerleading
First place: First Presbyterian Church
Second Place: Homes Cool 4-H
Third place: Prolife Ministries
Outside County Commercial
First place: Streator Onized Credit Union
Second place: Rockin' County DJ n Boots
First place: Standard Bank
Second place: Jewel Osco
Third place: Culver's
First place: Associated Orthodontist
Second place: Walnut Grove Village
Third place: Grundy Bank
First place: Donna Mueller's School of Dance
First place: Pam's Academy of Dance
Third place: TNT Dance
MARCHING BAND RESULTS
Grade School A:
First place: Troy Middle School
Second place: Central Middle School
Third place: Minooka Junior High School
Grade School B:
First place: Saratoga Grade School
Second place: Reed Custer Middle School
Third place: MVK Middle School
Grade School C:
First place: Somonauk Middle School
Second place: Coal City Middle School
High School A:
First place: Minooka High School
Second place: West Aurora High School
Third place: Morris High School
High School C:
First place: Coal City High School
Second place: Reed Custer High School
High School D:
First place: Gardner-South Wilmington High School
Second place: Serena Community Unit #2
Third place: Earlville High School
Best Junior High: Troy Middle School
Best High School: Minooka High School