This year’s Corn Boilin’, a Cobb tradition put on by Sheriff Neil Warren, attracted about 2,000 hungry visitors.
The event had the same number of attendees last year, said Nancy Bodiford, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
A portion of the money raised at the Corn Boilin’ held at Jim Miller Park is donated to the Cobb County Youth Museum. So far, the event has raised $180,000 for the museum.
Gov. Nathan Deal, who spoke at the event, said this was his second Cobb Corn Boilin’ and he called the county a “strong point” of Georgia.
“I was honored to come,” Deal said. “I think it’s important that we pay tribute to our law enforcement. That’s important in Cobb.”
Deal also said he was happy to see many candidates in runoffs sitting down to a meal, and he encouraged voters to turn out for the July 22 vote.
“I want to thank you for making sure I didn’t have to be in a runoff,” Deal said.
David Perdue, who is in a runoff against U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, said he came to see some friends in Cobb.
“I used to live in Cobb County, so we had some friends making introductions to new people,” Perdue said. “We won Cobb, and I wanted to reinforce that by coming tonight.”
Kingston didn’t make it out to the event, and Perdue said he was “happy he wasn’t here.”
Ann Harris, who is running for Cobb Superior Court Judge, said she also wanted to come to the Corn Boilin’ to campaign.
“I’m trying to meet some folks I haven’t met before,” Harris said.
The event is a good place for reaching out to new people because it draws an important crowd, said former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna, who is in a runoff against Barry Loudermilk of Cartersville for the 11th District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta).
“Everybody who’s anybody in Cobb County is here,” Barr said.
Sheriff Warren said the event started 25 years ago as “strictly a political fundraiser,” but he now sees it as more of a social event to raise money for the community as well as the sheriff’s office.
“It’s not just for politics, it’s for the Youth Museum,” Warren said. “As long as I’m sheriff, we’ll continue doing it.”
One Marietta woman, Kathy Baier, a full-time student at the Atlanta School of Massage, said she came to the event just for the meal.
“I already have my ideas about who I want to vote for, so I don’t know that this is going to change my mind,” Baier said.
Baier added she was impressed to meet Perdue.
“It’s so neat that he sounds just like he does in the commercials,” Baier said.
Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), who spent about three hours helping cook 3,200 ears of corn for the event, said he hasn’t missed a Corn Boilin’ since it began and he always helps cook.
“It’s the best attended event in politics in north Georgia,” Tippins said. “It gets hot, but it doesn’t get old.”
Bob Weatherford, who is in a runoff with former Commission Chairman Bill Byrne for outgoing Commissioner Helen Goreham’s seat representing northwest Cobb, said he thinks the event is important to support local police officers.
“As a former police officer, it doesn’t matter what I’ve done, being a police officer was the most important thing,” Weatherford said.
Former Sheriff Bill Hutson and then-Chief Deputy Sheriff Warren held the first Corn Boilin’ at the home of Johnny Woodward in Powder Springs in 1990, when the crowd was about 60 people.
Hutson said he continued the tradition of boiling corn that came from his family in the north Georgia mountains. Hutson calls the meal “the poor man’s political camp because you can’t afford barbecue.”
Warren was elected sheriff in 2004 when Hutson retired. Warren has continued the tradition.
The sheriff’s office decided to begin donating funds to the Cobb Youth Museum in 1995. Located off Cheatham Hill Drive in Marietta, the Youth Museum is a nonprofit educational center that serves as an extension of the classroom, where elementary and middle school-aged students learn through such activities as puppet productions.