Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival returns late April

The Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival is back after a year’s hiatus, celebrating its 62nd annual celebration held during the last weekend of April.

This year’s schedule includes a 5K run, a classic cars display, two parades, a horse pull, and a tractor pull. A list of times for each event can be found on the festival’s website.

Organizers worked with the local health department to plan around the COVID-19 pandemic, moving its formerly indoor activities outdoors, not having a carnival or craft show, and offering a drive-thru version of its annual pancake meal.

“There’s a lot of support in Shepherd. They want the festival, they enjoy it,” says Pete Alexander, the president of the festival committee. “It’s good to come back and have something, but it’s not the same as what it normally is.”

Those interested in purchasing Shepherd maple syrup and related products can find vendors located outside the Sugar Bush building on N. 3rd Street throughout the festival weekend.

Adjacent to the festival this year is the new Artisan Row’s Makers’ Market, an open-air market of artisan goods and artwork, with some of the proceeds going toward the Shepherd Splash Park Project.

Founded in 1958, the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival and The Sugar Bush Corp. – the maple syrup producing section of the festival – started as a volunteer project with the goal of funding park and recreational activities in the community.

Each winter, maple trees alongside the streets of Shepherd are tapped for sap, and later brought to the Sugar Bush building in town to be processed into the town’s famed maple syrup.

Alexander says one of the goals of the festival is to create more recreation for Shepherd’s youth. Past proceeds from the festival have funded parks, tree plantings, and recently a soccer field and tractor pull site.

“Everything we make goes back into the community,” says Alexander. “It’s all strictly run by volunteers.

The Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival goes from Friday, April 23 to Sunday, April 25. Attendance is free. For more information, visit the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival’s website or follow the festival on Facebook.
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