MENDOTA — A threat made just before the 72nd Annual Sweet Corn Festival opened in Mendota did not impact attendance Thursday night.
Amid a heightened police presence, the games, rides and food vendors had just as many, if not more customers than usual.
“Typically on Thursday we’re only open a couple of hours,” said Catherine Wasmer, Lions Club president. “The guys came in at 10 o’clock and said we had a record Thursday this year.”
The Lions Club is known for their hand-dipped corn dogs and normally expect a crowd every year. In fact, Wasmer said they normally prepare more than 6,000 corn dogs over the weekend.
The owner of Passini’s Wood Fired Pizza agreed that festival attendance has so far been steady.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Nick Passini said. “We had about the same as last year.”
The Sweet Corn Festival is sponsored by the Mendota Area Chamber of Commerce. Katie Fox, CEO and president had no comment when asked about the threat and potential impact on attendance;
Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officers from specialized divisions within the Chicago Police Department are seeking a 17-year-old juvenile from the Chicago area who threatened to bring a gun to the festival.
The threat spread quickly on social media with many people reporting it to the Mendota Police Department. Mendota police chief Greg Kellen thanked those who reported it and asked everyone to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement officials.
Kellen said the juvenile who purportedly made the threat is known to police.
“MPD is committed to the security of our city and to our festival attendees and are partnering with the Illinois State Police and the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office to assure (sic) the safety of all festival attendees,” Kellen said in a press release.
Mendota police also clarified on their Facebook page that the current threat investigation is not linked to the shooting that took place Aug. 4 in the 700 block of Jefferson Street.