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2,000 corn cob lovers crowd Concordia feed

They've been held around the world, sometimes a dozen or more a year, but when it comes to Cobber Corn Feeds, nothing beats the home crowd. "This is the big one because it's our home territory," said Kindra McGrane, one of the stu...

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They've been held around the world, sometimes a dozen or more a year, but when it comes to Cobber Corn Feeds, nothing beats the home crowd.

"This is the big one because it's our home territory," said Kindra McGrane, one of the student organizers for Concordia College's popular get-together.

About 2,000 people crowded Memorial Auditorium Thursday evening for free corn and a chance to immerse themselves in the Cobber community. Visitors ranged from alumni and neighbors to staff and students.

"I always meet new people every year," said Dan Scherr, a physical plant employee who's been coming to the Cobber Corn Feed for 21 years.

Down the hall, children bounced around in Olson Forum, an indoor track facility that organizers turned into the Cobber Carnival for the evening.

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Eris Mae Johnson, class of '48, held the shoes of her 10-year-old grandson, Chase.

"There's really a good bond among all the alumni," said Johnson, who lives two blocks from the school. "It's kind of like a family."

Now in its 29th year, the Cobber Corn Feed has grown to be an international phenomenon. The feeds, organized by a group of four students and one adviser, have been held in Paris, Saudi Arabia and three African countries. The Saudi Arabia group had to have its corn shipped in, said Ernie Mancini, Concordia's director of alumni relations and Cobber Corn Feed adviser.

Thursday's event was the 11th and last official Cobber Corn Feed of the year. Four were held in Montana and most of the others in Minnesota. Mancini and his students go to each one to help set up the event.

Three unofficial, do-it-yourself Cobber Corn Feeds were also held this summer by other alumni, Mancini said.

"Cobbers find any excuse in the world to come together," he said.

The school-sponsored feeds are Concordia's way of thanking supporters, McGrane said, wherever those people may be.

Mancini estimated that the school's 11 corn feeds this summer have attracted about 3,000 people.

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Concordia's alumni have an unusually close bond with each other, he said, something that the school's unusual nickname seems to have helped foster.

"You either embrace it or run and hide from it," Mancini said. "We embrace it. Now it's almost like the holy grail."

Readers can reach Forum reporter David Forster at (701) 235-7311

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