October 2, 2023 at 10:35 a.m.

Hope Heritage Days From Inside a Corn Dog Booth

By Renee Risk Strietelmeier

My family and I have attended Hope Heritage Days for 18 years. We have been participants in the parade. We have eaten from the food booths and have met old friends to enjoy the days. This year I had the privilege to participate from inside the Corn Dog Booth. From years past I was expecting a large crowd. My surprise came when I showed up an hour before opening and saw an enormous crowd. Many were already standing in line for a corn dog.

I got to work immediately. That is when I realized the perspective from inside was going to be much different than outside with the others. From inside, I could listen to conversations of families and friends. They talked to each other and their children about how they come to the festival and the corn dog booth every year. The smiles on the children’s faces as they had their first corn dog was precious.

Other conversations included old friends greeting each other with...

“Hey ya! Where ya been hidin’?”
“What'cha been up to?”
“I’m here to get me one of these corn dogs.”
“Have ya ever seen such a crowd?” 

Another topic of discussion among the locals involved local business matters. 

“Hear that the Family Dollar is wanting to get lot rezoned [sic].”
“We don’t need that.”
“No kidding!”
“We like our Dollar General. It’s the top 6th in the state.” 

As I served up corn dogs, I could hear conversations about everything in the news and the need for rain. Everyone was discussing the day’s beautiful weather and the great turnout of people for the event.

From inside the Corn Dog booth, I could see the children playing chase on the playground. Older couples holding hands was a wonderful thing to see. Mamas trying to keep tabs on their children and people dancing were both funny and a delight to witness.

Booth owners and operators have a language of their own. They swap food when given a short chance to grab a bite. They swap customer stories of who they have seen that they know. They discuss booth workings including Hope Heritage Days is always the best festival.  

Corn Dog booth operator, Scott Strietelmeier, enjoys seeing all the people coming and going. Getting up at 5 a.m. and getting home at midnight. Scott's favorite part is seeing and catching up with old friends who come back to enjoy Hope Heritage Days, he says. He is amazed how well coordinated the event is and that Hope is the envy of other small towns in the area, he says. He spoke to people who have attended other festivals and they told him how amazing it is that Hope organizes such an incredible event. I agree. Especially from inside the Corn Dog booth, where I got to enjoy the festival and gain all the news I needed until next year’s Heritage Days.