ENTERPRISE — The “Enterprise Cornfest” celebrated 27 years running Saturday in a day that perfectly combined the Enterprise community’s pride in its past with its hope for the future.
The festival began in 1990 as a way to celebrate the harvest and the agricultural bounty of the area. Though the festival is well known throughout the Southern Utah community, it almost went by another name.
“This was almost called the potato festival, actually,” said T.J. Holt, who was selling corn with Holt Farms at Cornfest.
When the community of Enterprise – including Holt’s grandpa, who owns Holt Farms – decided to create a festival surrounding the harvest and the fresh produce that attracted many travelers to the area, one of the crops they considered focusing on was the potato crop, T.J. Holt said.
In the end, corn won out and the annual festival has been sharing the sweet taste of late summer ever since. Now the festival attracts 3,000-5,000 visitors each year who come to take in the eclectic mix of farm fresh produce, unique market vendors, classic cars, bounce houses and live entertainment.
The festival has been held in several locations in Enterprise throughout its 27 year history, but a new community park, already in the works, has become the permanent home of the festival.
The planned $3.4 million, 12-acre park will act as a city hub for events such as Cornfest and provide needed recreation and sports facilities for schools, the community and visitors.
The park will feature a community center, splash pad, enclosed pickleball courts, tennis courts, barbecue pits and much more.
City leaders and designers spent over a year on the design process alone, City Councilman Jared Holt said. It will be the community’s first and only park.
Funding for the park has come through a variety of sponsors including private citizen donations of up to $200,000, funds pledged from surrounding communities, money from the Dolores Eccles Foundation, funding from the Washington County recreation and tourism funds and funds from the Washington County School District.
Money from the school district is being used specifically to build tennis courts in the park. After the tennis courts are completed, Enterprise High School will organize a tennis team.
Though the park comes with an estimated $3.4 million price tag, it will actually be completed for approximately $2.7 million thanks to hundreds of community members who have volunteered their skills and labor toward building the park, Jared Holt said.
“It’s kind of like a barn raising,” Jared Holt said of the community involvement.
Additionally, some of the proceeds from this year’s Cornfest will be donated to be used to install water fountains along the park’s walking path. In the future, the community of Enterprise hopes to turn the annual festival into a two-day event complete with outdoor games and competitions, including hunting competitions, according to information from the festival.
For now, the festival acts as a great way to connect friends and family and bring them into the Enterprise community, T.J. Holt said.
“We all get drawn back to this small town,” he said.
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