The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Springstead corn roast raises funds for fire department


August 13, 2018

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

COOKING THE featured item Saturday at the 39th annual corn roast for Sherman-Springstead Volunteer Fire Department are, from left, head cook Jim Wilson, Dave Fantl, Jerry Kusiak and Jordan Schloer. The event at the Sherman Town Hall pavilion drew a massive crowd despite temperatures hovering around 90 degrees.


SHERMAN, Wis. - The 39th annual corn roast of the Sherman-Springstead Volunteer Fire Department had amazing community support Saturday, with a family-friendly crowd packing the Sherman Town Hall pavilion, as well as a large tent behind it and several other umbrella tables.

Springstead (rhymes with "head") is an unincorporated community in the town of Sherman in Iron County's deep south. The 2000 census listed 336 residents in Sherman, and they all appeared to be present Saturday.

Ron King, who heads the fire department, has co-chaired the event with his wife, Rose, ever since they moved here 24 years ago from West Chicago, where he was a full-time firefighter.

"We used to come to Mercer and Hurley snowmobiling," said King, who attributed his inspiration to run the corn roast from his familiarity with Chicago fundraisers.

"It's the best move we ever made," said Rose King of coming to Springstead. At the corn roast, she was helping to auction off a variety of items, including a quilt made by the Springstead Schoolhouse Quilters and a high-gloss coffee table featuring Rose's own talent in wood burning.

The event also included a bunch of raffles, as well as tractor pulls, disk golf, tetherball, volleyball and other games.

Among the many people enjoying the festivities were representatives of three other Wisconsin towns: Kimball volunteer fire chief John Smith; Dan and Joann Omasl of Antigo, with their dog Ted, one of many mellow, wandering hounds; and Dawn and Greg Griesel of Phillips, who declared the corn "excellent."

"We do boast we have the best corn in the state," said Jim Wilson, who has retired from the fire department but not from the corn roast. He added with a big laugh, "The guy who runs that corn cooker is a genius. That's me."

Wilson, who has been head corn cooker for 21 years, said they planned to roast about 100 dozen cobs of corn. "We cook five racks at a time, and there's probably 20 (cobs) per rack," he said, estimating 16 to 20 minutes of cooking time for each batch."

He said a total of about 70 volunteers made Saturday's event happen, with many of them responsible for the food line in the pavilion, where a variety of burgers, brats and dogs were served, along with side dishes such as potato salad and munchies, and beverages including beer.

The Sparks, which is the name of the women's auxiliary for the fire department, largely handle the food line, while the guys roast the corn in separate stations outside of the pavilion.

According to Wilson, volunteers start at 7 a.m. and by the time all areas are cleaned up, it easily amounts to a 12-hour day.

"Everyone shows up. Our crowd gets bigger every year," he said, adding some members of extended families visit specifically at this time of year so they can help out with the event.

The Springstead annual corn roast takes place every year on the second Saturday in August.

All profits earned from the corn roast, and from any other Sparks' fundraisers, go to cover expenses of the Sherman-Springstead Volunteer Fire Department.


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