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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Maple Syrup Festival expanded to include a lumberjack theme

by Sylene Argent  

The volunteers and staff members of the John R. Park Homestead welcomed many enthusiastic visitors to the annual Maple Syrup Festival over the weekend.

  This year, the Maple Syrup Festival was expanded to cover an entire weekend, with the Saturday theme being dedicated to the “lumberjack.”

  Kris Ives, Curator of the John R. Park Homestead, was pleased the event attracted so many enthusiastic visitors on the Saturday, many of whom dressed in plaid and fuzzy toques to embrace the lumberjack theme.

  As is tradition, maple syrup making, and tasting, stations were set up throughout the homestead grounds, which described the maple syrup process from tapping a tree to how it ends up on the table. Other stations highlighted the games youth would have enjoyed in the pioneer days and duties adults carried-out, including woodworking and blacksmithing.

  In addition to the traditional stations, Saturday’s portion of the event included “lumberjack” chores for families to try, including sawing and hammering, and games that challenged visitors’ balance upon a log. A special craft on Saturday had the youth create a moustache they could take home with them. Beard and moustache competitions were also held.

  Sunday featured the new “Backyard MapleMaker’s competition,” where visitors had the chance to have their homemade syrup judged by expert, award-winning maple producer, Jean Giffin.

  There are many unique aspects of the John R. Park Museum, including that this living museum is a conservation area that celebrates the connection between nature and history, Ives noted during the event as patrons lined up to sample maple taffy in the snow.

  Indigenous people first discovered the maple-making process, and taught it to early settlers, Ives added. Over the years, the tools used during the process may have changed, but the ration, typically 40 units of sap to create one unit of syrup, is still standard.

  For more information abut upcoming events, log onto

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