BEST CORN ON THE COB (2004)

Miami Springs River Festival

Every April for the past two decades Miami Springs, our own version of Mayberry, has celebrated the river that runs through it with a street party that fills the famous circle in the northeast corner of town -- where most of the businesses are -- and extends out along the streets and into the large green space in the middle of the circle. Family-oriented to the extreme, the kiosks feature the usual arts and crafts and souvenirs as well as more unusual items (the African statues booth is always fascinating). There's a river cleanup, a fishing contest, canoe races, and plenty of live music. Food seems to dominate, and the highlight is a large chickee-type booth where several of the town's venerable citizens roast corn. For the most part, corn is corn, but to roast it perfectly requires know-how, which is why the same guys, each year a bit more gray, swelter over the open fire and, with gloved hands, find a good cob, rip open the husk, put a stick in it, and provide what just might be the perfect corn. Sweet, plump, smoky, juicy ... the best.