Dave Axelson was eager to sink his teeth into a steaming ear of corn on the cob Friday night.
"For us, this is the event of the year," the 61-year-old La Habra resident said of the city's annual Corn Festival. His family has attended the festival for the past 20 years, he said. "We're here for our ear of corn, and we'll be back tomorrow for the parade."
Organizers said they expect more than 60,000 people to attend the 48th annual event, which runs through Sunday night.
Today's Corn Festival Parade will feature two grand marshals: Fire Chief Mike McGroarty and Fire Captain Bob Lee, who helped with rescue efforts after the Oklahoma City bombing.
The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. on La Habra Boulevard at Idaho Street, then proceeds to the festival at El Centro-Lions Park.
"It's going to be a perfect weekend," said Chuck Overby, a spokesman for the La Habra Host Lions Club, which is sponsoring the event. The club hopes to raise at least $40,000 for local charities, he said.
Even though corn is not grown in La Habra, the Lions Club chose it as the focus for the first festival in 1947. This year's supply, which will sell for $1 apiece, came from Salinas, Overby said.
The first festival featured a square dance at the park's basketball court, a rolling pin contest, sack races and "all that kind of archaic fun," he said.
This year's event is far more modern, with carnival-style rides and giant gas cookers that can pop out 60 ears of corn a minute.
The festival is from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.