Central Florida may not have the lock on sweet-corn production it once did, but for more than three decades Zellwood has rallied to celebrate our agricultural history. In the early '70s, the Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival was created by the Northwest Orange County Improvement Association as a small corn boil to raise money for community needs. In time, the event grew and gained as much fame as the corn.
In the 1990s, the state shut down many Orange County farms to start the environmental cleanup of Lake Apopka. Long and Scott Farms sat back far enough from the others to remain and today keeps true local flavor a part of the festival.
Zellwood's grand dame is Big Bertha II, a 6-ton, 350-gallon water-boiling behemoth that cooks 1,650 ears of corn every nine minutes. The original Bertha was built in Texas and almost didn't make it to Florida. Federal agents suspected that festival organizers were buying the world's largest portable moonshine still and wouldn't let it out of their hands without a thorough investigation. Thousands of sweet-corn lovers were relieved when Bertha made it to her home.
Bertha II will once again kick it up to a rolling boil for the 37th annual Zellwood Sweet Corn Festival, May 14-15, on Ponkan Road.