A harbinger of spring disrupted by the pandemic for its last three outings, the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival will return to in-person activities when April rolls around.
“We’re planning to resume back to our original festival, the way it would be presented before the pandemic, and we’re optimistic that we will be able to do that because there have been other similar festivals and events that have been taking place in the last six [to] eight months that would indicate we’d be able to do the same,” said Matt Jessop with the EMSF organizing committee, which met last week.
Festival day has been set for April 1.
“We’re, of course, very excited to get back to in-person events. I think that people have been really missing that opportunity. It’s one of the hallmarks of spring, and not being able to host the festival for the community has been missed,” Jessop said.
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The event was cancelled in 2020, while the 2021 edition was 100 per cent virtual. The 2022 festival was a modified in-person event, put on in conjunction with Rural Roots Brewing. Not being able to have a full event has impacted the support the festival provides to organizations in the community, including donations.
“Bringing the festival back in person is finally a chance for us to continue to do that. We have been able to support our stakeholders and donate money throughout the pandemic with huge support from our sponsors. However, we’re hoping that we can do more of that now that we can have the festival back,” he said.
The committee is also looking for more volunteers, Jessop added.
“We have had a hard time retaining committee members because we’re an organization that’s here to host the maple syrup festival. In the last few years we haven’t been able to actually host the festival, therefore we’ve had a little bit of difficulty retaining committee members.
“Now that we’re back, we really are hoping and seeking out a couple very motivated and community-minded individuals that would join us and we hope that what we will be able to do is come back with the maple syrup festival this year in-person better than ever,” Jessop added.
Those interested in volunteering can visit www.elmiramaplesyrup.com, where a list of the volunteer positions will be posted at a later date.
“There are 2,000 volunteers that have in some way something to do with the festival so it’s a big combined effort that’s sure,” Jessop said of the work that is put into planning the one-day event.