Mark your calendar for the 47th Annual Vermont Maple Festival on April 26-28, 2013. During the maple festival, visitors flock from throughout the U.S., as well as other countries, to downtown St. Albans for maple treats, maple learning, and maple fun at the end of the maple season in Vermont.
Much of the event is without cost and handicapped-accessible. Attractions include the exhibit hall, Main Street entertainment stage, crafts, specialty foods, youth talent show, antique show and sale, fiddlers' variety show, carnival, sugarhouse tours, pancake breakfasts, Sap Run road race, cooking demonstrations and contests, face painting for the children, giant parade, maple creemees, maple sugar-on-snow, maple cotton candy and much more. Find the fun at www.vermontmaplefestival.org.
The antique show and sale will take place at the Town Educational Center on South Main Street, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. Whether your taste is 18th-century primitives or 20th-century retro gadgets, there is something for every treasure hunter at this show.
The craft and specialty foods show is scheduled for 12 to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Bellows Free Academy gymnasium. Now enlarged to more than 60 vendors, the show offers both traditional and the latest in craft innovations, as well as the fine specialty foods that Vermont is famous for.
Maple cooking demonstrations will take place in the Bellows Free Academy cafeteria. Maple cooks, including former festival class winners and noted chefs from Vermont's finest inns, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts, will prepare their specialties in front of the assembled audience members, who can watch the process every step of the way via an overhead demonstration mirror. Perhaps best of all, the onlookers are offered samples of the delectable concoctions.
Photo courtesy of jzlomek/morguefile.com.
Enjoy a complimentary bus trip to two local sugarhouses. Mike Jean and his sons began sugaring in St. Albans with 64 taps in 2008, boiling on a 55-gallon drum. Two years ago, with their newly built modern sugarhouse, equipped with an oil-fired evaporator and RO technology, they expanded to 2,500 taps. Last year their operation grew to 8,500 taps. Robbie Morrill was crowned Vermont Maple King at the maple festival in 2010, and served until the 2011 festival. His sugarhouse, in Georgia, Vt., is new this year. He is boiling sap from 2,500 of his own taps, and leasing another 2,000 taps in several locations.
The Vermont maple buffet dinner features maple dishes with all the fixings. It will be held at St. Mary's Hall on Saturday. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner is at 6. You'll have an opportunity to chat with sugar makers - talk about the maple crop, ask questions and get to know new people while renewing old acquaintances.
A fundraiser for the ARC of Northwestern Vermont, the pancake breakfast gets festivalgoers off to a maple-good start on both Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. until noon. Expect light fluffy pancakes, MacKenzie maple sausages, ham, eggs, fruit and enough pure maple syrup in the constantly refilled pitchers to satisfy the hungry fans of the flavor of Vermont. Juice, milk and coffee, with extras of ice cream and Cabot cheese samples (donated by Franklin County Dairy Promotion) round out the breakfast. It will be held at City Elementary School.
Vermont Maple Syrup and Products Contest
All maple syrup entries require 1-pint containers; all other classes are to be in the quantity indicated. No identifying labels or private label containers should be used for your contest entries. All maple syrup entries must be graded by the entrant. Contest entrants must be residents of Vermont.
Class and Product
1. Maple Syrup, Vermont Fancy
2. Maple Syrup, Grade A Medium
3. Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark
4. Pure Maple Sugar Cakes, five small cakes
5. Pure Maple Cream, 8 ounces
6. Pure Maple Fudge, 8 ounces (may contain nuts)
7. Maple Granulated Sugar, 8 ounces
Photo courtesy of Holly Schneider/sxc.hu.
Entering the contest is easy. Pick out your best 2013 syrups, maple cream, candy, and fudge, and prepare to enter the contests at the festival.
Entries can be delivered to the Festival Exhibit Hall (BFA cafeteria, St. Albans) on Thursday, April 25, from 1 to 5 p.m. only.
Entries can be delivered to the following UVM Extension offices no later than Wednesday, April 24: Middlebury, Rutland, Morrisville, Newport, St. Johnsbury, South Burlington, St. Albans and Berlin.
Other delivery places:
White River Junction: FSAS Agency Office, 28 Farm Vu Drive, by 3 p.m. April 24
Westfield: Couture's Maple Shop, Route 100
Please note: there will be no pickup in Brattleboro this year.
Entries may also be shipped by mail or UPS to the Vermont Maple Festival, c/o UVM Extension, 278 South Main Street, St. Albans, VT 05478, to arrive no later than noon on Thursday, April 25.
All entries will be judged by a team of judges on Thursday evening, April 25, beginning at 5 p.m. No one is permitted in the judging area during judging (except for the judges and their assistants). All contest rules must be followed exactly, and decisions of the judges are final. Contestants will be notified of the reason for any disqualification by the contest chair. Only pure Vermont maple syrup may be used in the preparation of any entry.
All entries judged to be honorable mention in each class will receive a blue ribbon and $10. Entries judged to be excellent in each class will receive a blue ribbon and $15. Best of class winners will be presented an additional $10, a rosette, and one ticket to the Vermont maple buffet dinner; additional tickets are available. Presentations will be made at the buffet dinner on Saturday evening.
The best of show winner in the maple syrup contest is chosen from class winners. The winner shall receive a special $50 award from the Franklin County Maple Cooperative in memory of C. Blake Roy.
Please note: Maple cream and granulated sugar must be entered in clear glass or plastic containers so that the products are visible when displayed.