October 21, 2021

Maple Fest committee planning for April return of event

‘We are going to try it!’

Cortland Standard file photo

Jody Pangburn of Lisle tastes a sample of Marathon maple syrup at the Maplefest in April 2017. After being canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will return this year, but modified for social distancing.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the cancelation of the 50th anniversary of Maple Fest last year, but the festival committee is looking to have one this year — just a little differently.

The Maple Festival Committee met Wednesday where committee co-chairman Josh Ensign of Ensign Maple in Marathon agreed something needed to happen. “We didn’t want to cancel it two years in a row,” Ensign said. “We’re still in the early planning stages.”

Rather, this year the committee plans a drive-by Maple Festival dubbed “The Central New York Maple Festival’s 49 and Holding” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 10, or until products are gone, states a news release from the committee.

The festival has been given that name for a number of reasons. The committee wants to hold a large 50th celebration once the pandemic is over and because “we’re all holding on for a better time,” said Connie White of Marathon, who sits on the committee.

“We’re stripping it down,” White said, noting people will be able to buy maple products and food.

However, the exact route or vendors for the festival haven’t been decided.

White said she suggested holding it at Appleby Elementary School because it would be easy enough to have people set up on the sidewalk and drive to each stand and then out of the school’s parking lot.

However, White said other committee members wanted the route to go through the village.

Ensign said they won’t have as many items for sale as in years past, but expect to see syrup, cream and molded sugar.

“We can’t get rid of that, it’s one of the favorites,” Ensign said of molded sugar.

However, Tim Custer of Custer Maple in Cuyler said he’s not likely to take part this year, although he hopes it succeeds.

“We’re usually busy enough that we don’t have time,” Custer said.

“We are going to try it!” said committee Chairwoman Page Parker in the news release. “There are folks who depend on Marathon maple producers to supply them with their yearly needs. We can’t let them down.”