Written By Mark Cochran
As far back as the 1930s, there are documented instances of locals referring to the small town of Englewood as Saginaw. While the nickname is deeply rooted in the town’s history, there appears to be no one who can give a definitive answer as to its origin. Nevertheless, the name has stuck and over the decades and has been displayed on everything from Englewood School’s gym floor to shirts and uniforms. From time to time it has even been known to be the inspiration for some local body art.
This well-known moniker will now have a place in the town’s yearly festival when the Community Action Group of Englewood puts a new spin on an established local favorite. As CAGE hosts the 33rd Annual Englewood Celebrates on June 30, 2018, they will feature a unique addition to the celebration called the Saginaw Sweet Corn Festival.
The idea for the Sweet Corn Festival came after a conversation between CAGE members Gail Anderson and Frances Powers about “freshening up” Englewood Celebrates.
“We are so proud of what Englewood Celebrates has become and how it has continued to grow,” Anderson said. “I just felt like it was a good time to do something outside of the box and really expand the event. Given Frances’ experience with Niota’s Fried Green Tomato Festival, I knew she would be the right person to consult.”
Powers said she was very happy to offer suggestions and to help get the Sweet Corn Festival on its feet.
“I told Gail that what I believed CAGE needed was a festival that highlighted some kind of southern cuisine,” Powers said.
“It actually just came to me during our conversation that no town around us has a corn festival.”
With sweet corn playing such a crucial role in southern life and Saginaw being a uniquely Englewood name that many locals connect with, the two felt like the idea was a homerun. After the initial meeting, Powers was off to the races to make the Saginaw Sweet Corn Festival in to a roaring success. The festival is expecting approximately 75 food and craft vendors, numerous musicians as well as the Peaches and Cream Beauty Pageant for young ladies. All food vendors will feature a sweet corn dish at their booths.
CAGE Vice President and co-coordinator of the Sweet Corn Festival Bobbie Dickson, said she is especially enthusiastic about the increased number of vendors.
“Having so many new merchants who are cooking and selling various items for the Sweet Corn Festival will really give Englewood Celebrates a larger feel,” Dickson said. “I think our regular festival-goers will be pleasantly surprised at the increased number of visitors at this year’s event.”
Along with the many new things taking place at the 2018 Englewood Celebrates, attendees will also experience many of the traditional favorites such as the pancake breakfast, bluegrass music, tractor show, Sockhill 5K and the evening Square Dance on Main Street.
Although there are many new additions to the festival, Anderson said Englewood Celebrates will serve the same purpose as it did 33 years ago.
“Englewood Celebrates started as a part of the Tennessee Homecoming 1986 initiative by Governor Alexander to bring small towns together to celebrate their culture and history,” Anderson said. “While this year’s event will have a little bit different look it will have the same goal as it has had for over three decades. The people of Englewood never let us down, and I can’t wait see how many folks come out to celebrate with us.”
The origin of Englewood’s nickname will continue to be debated and discussed for many years to come. Although the story of Saginaw will likely remain a mystery, it is the hope of the Community Action Group of Englewood that people will always remember when and where the Saginaw Sweet Corn Festival began and the positive and lasting effect it had on the town.
June 30, 2018
Pancake Breakfast at 7 a.m. | Sockhill 5K 7:30 a.m.
Entertainment All Day | Square Dance on Main Street at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Night Community | Service on June 28, at 6 p.m. at Englewood Church of God
Vendor Registration | Frances Powers | 423-887-3631
Tractor Show | Contact: Bev Long | 423-506-2370
Peaches and Cream Beauty Pageant | Courtney Jenkins| 423-506-9099