VERMONTVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) — Thousands of people came out to support Vermontville maple syrup producers Saturday and Sunday. This year marked 80 years, which made it special.
” My favorite part is everybody in the community helping each other out, we support all the local non-profits. It’s not an event that helps one person, it helps the whole community,” said Mark Dixon, co-owner of Dixon
The smell of maple syrup filled downtown Vermontville. There were free games, food vendors and pure maple syrup.
“I think one of the biggest draws to the maples syrup festival is that there’s always something to do for the entire family,” said MaryAnn Hayes, President of Vermontville Festival Corporation.
Nearly 80 years ago two men at a barbershop had the idea to help maple syrup producers and came up with the festival.
“In the past years a lot of the farmers would be maples syrup producers and they would use the money that they made selling maple syrup to buy their seeds for the upcoming year,” said Hayes.
The owners of Haigh Sugar House Farm have been attending the festival since the ’60s.
“It’s good to keep the natural product out for people, and we sell a lot our crop that we make each year out here at the festival,” Larry Haigh.
Due to COVID-19, the festival had to be canceled last year leaving many people devastated.
“Cancelling the festival last year had a large effect on not only the producers but it did have an effect on all of the businesses in town. This is one of largest fundraisers we do for the community, and unfortunately with canceling last year’s it left a lot of our community organizations in a tough financial bind including the corporation,” said Hayes.
Even without the carnival rides, parades, or firework “3 to 5 thousand” people community still came to support.
“It was a lot better turn out than we expected, especially with the weather yesterday being rainy but today is beautiful,” said Hayes.
80 years of tradition, they still try to keep up with the times.
“Over the past few years we’ve changed some things up, trying to draw in the younger crowd, trying to make it more family-oriented, and involve everyone,” she said.