CLINTON — Four of the eight Democratic candidates for president will be in Clinton this weekend during a state representative’s annual corn boil.
John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are scheduled to appear at Rep. Polly Bukta’s annual corn boil this Saturday at Alliant Energy Field.
“It’s not a usual thing to have four presidential candidates in one place at one time,” Bukta said. “This is the biggest fundraiser I’ve ever held.”
According to Julie Allesee, director of the Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau, the event should make national headlines.
“This will call a tremendous amount of media attention to Clinton,” Allesee said. “That is invaluable.”
Bukta, of Clinton, who is currently serving her sixth term as a state representative, hopes the event will give the country “a little peek of a little river town in Iowa” and show that the Midwest is not “all farm fields.”
Also slated for appearances are U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley, Sens. Roger Stewart, D-Preston, and Frank Wood, D-Eldridge, and former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack. Presidential candidate Barack Obama, who is unavailable to attend, will send Oklahoma congressman Brad Carson in his place, and an as-yet unnamed surrogate will stand in for candidate Bill Richardson.
In years past the corn boil was held at Bukta’s home, which accommodated 200 to 300 people.
“But we’re expecting a much larger crowd this year,” Bukta said.
This year’s 12th annual event will begin with lunch at noon, and the program will start at 1 p.m. The candidates are each slated to give a short speech in the order they arrive. Bukta anticipates they will then go into the crowd.
“People will have the opportunity to shake their hand and speak to them more face to face,” Bukta said. Each of the candidates also will have a table set up with information packets and items available for purchase.
Bukta is excited the event will be held at the ball stadium this year.
“It’s quite Midwestern and American,” Bukta said. “And it’s a beautiful setting there with the river in the background.”
Corn and a beverage will be included in the $10 fee, which constitutes a donation to Bukta’s campaign. The stadium’s concession stands will be open with food available for purchase.
Bukta’s first corn boil took place in 1996 in support of her first campaign.
“We wanted to establish something as an annual fundraiser that we could have year after year and make it an annual fest,” Bukta said.
The event has grown bigger each year, and Bukta looks forward to seeing long-time friends again and meeting new ones.
“It’s very Iowan,” Bukta said. “It couldn’t be more Iowan than a corn boil.”