Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren was the host for the event, which is a campaign fundraiser for him and also helps him raise money for the Cobb County Youth Museum, which is visited by Cobb fourth-graders annually. The Boilin’ raises almost $10,000 each year and helps pay for tours for Title I schools or for children who can’t afford to come to the museum.
Warren, who took over hosting the fundraiser from former Sheriff Bill Hutson in 2004, said it’s always hot and humid at the event, but he feels a good time was had by all.
“It’s been great!” he said. “We just have good time. It’s kind of like a family reunion. We have republicans, democrats, non-politicians and politicians.”
Nearly 150 volunteers helped coordinate the night’s meals, with food preparation starting around 6 a.m. Monday and included serving 42 cases of yellow corn, 22 cases of cantaloupe, 20 cases of tomatoes and 35 watermelons, along with beans, onions, cole slaw and hoe cakes to everybody in attendance.
Warren said ever since its inception, the Boilin has raised about $150,000 for the museum.
The event also gives candidates up for election an opportunity come out and meet their voters, which is quite evident by the nearly 50 campaign signs that lined the entrance to Jim Miller Park.
Larry Savage, one of four Cobb County Commission chairman candidates, all of whom were in attendance, said this is his fourth Boilin.
“It’s been kind of a fun event. You have to see it to kind of understand it,” he said, adding that he was talking to someone earlier that day who had never heard of such an event. “It’s about politicking but when I come to something like this, I kind of have a tendency to not want to bother people, because they are in the middle of having a good time. People don’t want to get interrupted but I enjoy it.”
Savage said Warren does a good job of continuing the tradition his predecessor started in 1990 and that’s why people like to be a part of it.
Savage is running against incumbent Tim Lee, Bill Byrne and Mike Boyce for the commission chair seat.
Another candidate in attendance whose name voters will see on the ballot July 31 is Cobb County Superior Court Judge Reuben Green.
He has attended the Boilin ever since Hutson started it and, although he wasn’t able to serve on the meal line because he’s fighting a cold, he was happy to be there with his wife Heidi.
“We’ve been enjoying this for a number of years now. It’s always a great event and always a lot of folks show up and they raise some good money,” he said.
Green was first appointed to the bench in October 2010 by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and is up against attorney Nathan Wade at the end of the month.
Larry Burke, who’s running for a Cobb County State Court judgeship, said he too has been attending the event since it was started.
“Initially it was in support of the sheriff and it eventually was to support the charity,” he said. “I think it’s good to just get out with a lot of other folks, especially during political years. You get to see folks outside of the normal, like for us judges, we get to talk to people outside the court atmosphere. It’s a good social event.”
He’s been an associate judge with the Marietta Municipal Court for 14 years and served as a Cobb State Court Judge Pro-Tem for the last 25 years. He is running against Gene Clark, Marsha Lake and Joyette Holmes.
One of the Superior Court clerk candidates, Rebecca Keaton, who will be up against candidates Joan Davis and John Skelton, said she’s been going to the Corn Boilin since 1998.
She didn’t have an opportunity to volunteer at the event because she was with her two sons, but she said it’s a time for her to remind the voters that she is up for election, plus Warren is endorsing her campaign.
“My favorite part is the people,” Keaton said. “I even saw of my friends (from northeast Georgia) from a class I just finished up. You see people from everywhere!”
One of the sheriff’s long-time supporters who helped serve on the meal line Monday night was Cobb GOP treasurer Helen Story.
“This is a great roundup to get everybody out to help support education and children,” she said. “We’re big into supporting what the sheriff does but it’s a good way to raise money for the children’s museum and to get young and old together and to have fun together and talk about what we’re going to do for children down the road.”
Story said she likes working in the food line each year so she can meet the Cobb voters, elected officials and even some of the children who benefit from the funds raised for the museum.
“We have good candidates running but you have to remember one thing, that’s Cobb County. We’re all about good candidates!” she said.
Another person who showed up Monday just to help support the museum was former Kennesaw mayor J.O. Stephenson.
“It’s important for me because I’ve seen a lot of things happen in all my years,” said the 80-year-old Cobb resident. “I don’t see as many people as I used to but it’s still good to be here.”
Stephenson served as the mayor of Kennesaw for 18 years and said, like Story, he has attended the Corn Boilin since it started in 1990.
Throughout the two-hour fundraiser, those in attendance not only got to mingle with candidates but were entertained by a group of cloggers from Kennesaw, Out of the Blue Band from the north Georgia mountains, 11-year-old singer Sara Stevens from Marietta and Cobb Sheriff’s Office Major Chris Griffith, who performed patriotic and gospel songs.