Taken from an Interview with Bro Darrin Galde, DDGM of District 5
The smell of sweet fresh corn is in the air, in Fargo, ND, and that can only mean one thing. It’s time once again for the Annual Masonic Corn Feed. Yes, that is correct. I love this time of the year when the farmers harvest their corn crop. There is nothing better than eating a freshly cooked ear of sweet corn on the cob, dripping with butter, and salted.
When? Wednesday, August 9 from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM Central time.
Where? El Zagal Temple (in the basement) located at 1429 3 rd St N, in Fargo, ND.
In addition to corn the menu includes: Hot dogs, potato salad, and lemonade.
Do you serve alcohol? Alcohol can be purchased at an additional charge. It is not a part of the ticket price. El Zagal Temple does have a full bar so one can purchase a beer or mix drink if they so desire.
The cost? $10 for Adults. $5 for children 12 and under.
Bro. Darrin Galde, the DDGM of District 5, has been the event coordinator for the past 5 or 6 years. He took over as the coordinator of the Annual Masonic Corn Feed after one of his best friends in Lodge, Bill Anderson, passed away from cancer. Bill had run the event for many years and Bro. Galde said he does it in memory of his friend.
The history of the event: The Masonic Corn Feed was started in 1979, by Shiloh Lodge #1. In the late 90’s, Shiloh Lodge invited the other Lodges and Eastern Star, who also hold their meeting in the Masonic Center, to join them. These Lodges include: East Gate Lodge #120, Sunrise #130, and Daylight Lodge #133. In addition, Eastern Star, York Rite, and Scottish Rite also meet and hold events in this building. For the past 18 years the annual event has been hosted by the four Lodges and Eastern Star.
Bro. Galde stated the annual event also involves the local Masonic youth organization that helps with the event. Each year the Job’s Daughters come and help by cleaning tables. They then donate money back to help support the local Bethel (Chapter) for all their hard work. Job’s Daughters International is a Masonic Youth Organization for girls between the ages of 10 and 20. If you are interested in learn more about Job’s Daughters go to jobsdaughtersinternational.org.
Where do the funds go? The funds go towards the upkeep of the Masonic Center since all four Lodges and Eastern Star share the building. They usually raise between $4,000 and $5,000 each year. A portion of the money raised comes from donations. Tickets are sent to members of the four Lodges and Eastern Star. The annual event receives donations from Lodge and Eastern Star members who live out of state, such as Arizona. The money raised by the event, including the donations, are placed into a general building fund. Last year the money was used to have air conditioning installed in the Masonic Center. Every year they use the revenue towards a building maintenance or structural need. In the past, the money went towards updating the kitchen, roof repairs, and replacing carpets.
How much corn do you go through? Bro. Galde stated he orders 150 dozen ears of corn. They usually feed between 300 and 350 people. He admitted they have had larger crowds in the past. I asked what they do with the corn that is not used? Bro. Gralde’s response was “Whatever corn we don’t cook, we sell to people. We always sell out of our corn. A lot of People come to eat our corn that we cook and the uncooked ears they can buy to take home to freeze, or can it, or whatever they do.”
Where do you get the corn? The corn is locally grown. It comes from western Minnesota over by the Glyndon and Dilworth area. A local farmer grows the corn. They have been buying it from him for many years. Bro. Galde stated “He picks it that morning before the Corn Feed so it is fresh and we shuck it that morning”. So, it is “Straight off the stock into the pot”. Bro. Galde believes in supporting a local farmer who sells his corn at the local Farmers Market. Who has the fun task of shucking the corn? Bro. Galde stated they usually have a bunch of Masons, most of whom are retired, do the job. They will show up between 10 or 11 on Wednesday morning and begin the shucking process. He stated they shuck usually 100 to 110 dozen ears of corn. The rest they leave unhusked because people like to buy corn with the husk on.
I asked Bro. Galde, how do you know when to set the day for the Corn Feed? He stated “We always set the date of the Corn Feed around the time of his (the farmer’s) corn maturity date. According to Bro. Galde the farmer “always delivers on time”. Bro Galde usually contacts their supplier a month and a half before the Corn Feed, which is normally held in the first two weeks of August. Bro. Galde asks what the corn maturity day looks like and he (the farmer) tells me what day it well be done. Historically, the Masonic Corn Feed is held on a Wednesday night
because they tend to have better attendance on this day of the week.
Is there something unique about the Corn Feed? Bro.Galde said many years ago a member from Shiloh Lodge built the corn cooker they still use today. He stated “It is basically a stainless-steel pot made out of 36” pipe that holds 35 to 40 gallons of water. We fill that with water then add some salt and sugar. We have a big propaine torch that goes beneath it.” I asked him how much corn does it cook at one time? He stated “We cook 3 dozen ears every seven minutes”. Wow! That is a lot of cooked corn in a short period of time.
Bro. Galde stated that over the years the Annual Masonic Corn Feed has received good publicity from the local media. He recalled once having a live TV Camera Crew from KVLY Channel 4 of Fargo at the event. One of their reporters, a fellow Mason, filmed us live cooking the corn. Additionally, they receive good exposure from the different media outlets and businesses that support the annual event.
Since you took over as the event coordinator is any one thing that has impressed you or had a significant impact on you? He stated “What always impresses me is the willingness of all the organizations to work together. It becomes a joint effort between all the Masonic bodies.” My advice is if you are in the Fargo area on Wednesday, August 9 and are looking for dinner plans between the hours of 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM Central Time. Head on over to the El Zagal Temple located at 1429 3 rd St N, and enjoy some good old, home town cooking at the 38 th Annual Masonic Corn Feed. Have a great time and support your Masonic Family.
Until next time, may you and your family be safe and well. A new season of Freemasonry in the Bakken is in the works. Thank you for your support and kind feedback. As always, “Be Masonic Proud”.
Bro. Dr. Robert W. Baer, DDGM