The 36th Annual Vermont Maple Festival begins in St. Albans on Friday, April 26, and runs through Sunday, April 28. The All Arts Council offers art on the walls and music in the streets for the entire weekend.
"The opening ceremony, at 11:00 AM on Saturday, will feature Claire Hungerford singing the National Anthem," said Maple Festival co-Chair Ruth Goodrich. "Our theme is 'Pure Vermont Maple ... Made in the U.S.A.'"
Maple exhibits, demonstrations, and the Vermont Maple Store are all in the BFA Cafeteria. The annual Craft Show is in the BFA Gymnasium. The evening concerts will be held in the BFA Auditorium and the Maple Festival office is also in the BFA Cafeteria. Other festival events are held throughout St. Albans at all the schools, in the city park, the Federal Street parking lot, in St Mary's Hall, and on Main Street.
Click here for the Main Street entertainment schedule and here to read this year's radio script starring Tim as "Dick" and Betty as "Betty."
"We expect to see more than 50,000 visitors," said Jim Cameron of the Vermont Department of Agriculture. "The Festival has maple foods and good clean family fun to celebrate Vermont's most famous farm product."
"Maple sugar makers from all across Vermont come to St Albans to celebrate a good harvest and to show off this year's products," Goodrich said.
MAPLE DEMONSTRATIONS AND EXHIBITS
The largest maple syrup contest in the world gives bragging rights to the best maple syrup maker in Vermont. The Championship Maple Cooking Contest determines "Vermont's Best Maple Cook." All maple product and cooking entries must be submitted before 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, at the Maple Festival Exhibit Hall in the BFA Cafeteria. All entries will remain on display throughout the festival weekend.
Events during the festival include the famed benefit pancake breakfasts on both Saturday and Sunday at the City Elementary School. Proceeds will help the A.R.C. of Northwestern Vermont. The Maple Exhibit Hall includes the contest displays, maple industry exhibits, maple candy making demonstrations, a Vermont Maple Store, and the famous Nellie's Maple Cream Donut Shop.
"Family entertainment includes free shows all day long at the Main Street stage as well as concerts at BFA and at the Kept Writer," said All Arts Council Chair Dick Harper.
Click here for the Main Street entertainment schedule.
Starting at noon on Friday, the Main Street stage offers continuous free entertainment starting with the country music of Borderline, Kids on the Block-Vermont, the BFA Chamber Singers, and the exceptional Christian rock 'n' roll of Obediah.
Friday evening features the Youth Talent Show in the BFA Auditorium. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce and at the festival office.
Friday evening also opens the Three Muses Weekend at the Kept Writer Cafe in a weekend of song, words, and art to benefit the Abuse and Rape Crisis Center shelter project.
Continuous free entertainment on the Main Street Stage on Saturday includes Magician Tom Joyce, The Most (Ben Patton and Amtt Peck), Mark Sustic's Farewell Tour, the country music of Yankee Wild, and a free preview of the Fiddler's Variety Show. The Roxy Bissonette Dance Studio show and award winners from the Talent Show will perform. Claire Hungerford will officially open the 36th annual Maple Festival at 11 a.m. with the National Anthem.
The Three Muses continues a "Muse-ical" lineup all day at the Kept Writer.
The Maple Festival Awards Dinner brings sugar makers and friends together for an excellent repast in St Mary's Hall on Saturday evening. The highlight is the crowning of the Vermont Maple King and Queen. "Advance reservations are always a good idea," Maple Festival co-Chair Dennis Chrin said.
The Fiddler's Variety Show is an annual sellout in BFA Auditorium. "Come for two hours (or more) of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, clogging, and even some pretty fancy fiddlin' around," said Frank Heyburn. George Woodard will emcee. Tickets for the dinner and for the Variety Show are available at the Chamber of Commerce and at the festival office.
On Sunday, the Main Street Stage hosts WLFE Disk Jockey Jane Silk plus the continuous rock and roll music of Silverback and the classic Green Mountain Wind Ensemble. The Three Muses completes the day's entertainment with traditional and original tales, poetry and song at the Kept Writer Bookstore and Cafe.
The biggest event of the weekend is the 36th annual Maple Festival Parade. Starting at 1 p.m. from Houghton Street on Sunday, the parade stretches out for miles with over 120 bands, unique floats, clowns, horses and tractors, the ever-popular pooper scooper.
FAMILY ACTIVITIES ALL WEEKEND
"Our insurance company requires a copy of proof of insurance for all horses," Betty Rainville said.
On Saturday and Sunday, the All Arts Council fine art exhibit features 15 Franklin County artists with exceptional oil and watercolor paintings, fine art photographs, mixed media, and sculpture. AAC member and clay sculptor Diana Herder Bennett will demonstrate hand building techniques throughout the day.
The Vermont Specialty Foods Show brings the taste of Vermont to City Hall with pickles, jams, gourmet mustards, chocolates, honeys, baked goods, and even a cookbook. The Vermont Information Center will join the City Hall show to showcase Vermont's heritage, recreation, history, and products.
"Art and food together. What more can anyone want?" asked Harper. There is no admission for the City Hall events.
Click here for the AAC Art Exhibit lineup.
"We have Sap Run entries from all over the country again this year," said Mike Boulerice. Runners, walkers, and teams start Sunday morning in Swanton and finish at Taylor Park. The run starts at 9:30 a.m. and the Award Ceremony is at 11:30 on the Main Street stage.
The Festival Crafts Show will take place on all three days in the BFA Gymnasium and the Maple Festival Antique Show and Sale will take place at the St. Albans Town Central School.
Main Street also hosts a maple cotton candy booth, more maple exhibits, food concessions, plus contests and drawings at WWSR/WLFE, the official radio stations of the Vermont Maple Festival.
The Maple Festival Sugarhouse Tours visit the Branon Farm on Saturday only. Buses leave from Taylor Park.
The St Albans Historical Museum is open Saturday and Sunday for tours of the St Albans diorama, the Sterling Weed room, and more.
Look for pony rides and sugar making in Taylor Park and a full size carnival in the Federal Street parking lot. The new Maple Festival Climbing Wall will be erected in BFA's Fairfield Street parking lot.
The 36th Vermont Maple Festival is sponsored by Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, BankNorth-Vermont, the Franklin County Maple Producers Co-operative, Key Bank, Maplefields, Northwest Medical Center, Peoples Trust Company, Pepsi, the Vermont Department of Agriculture, radio stations WWSR/WLFE, and the UVM Extension Service. Call the festival office (802-524-5800) or check VTMapleFestival.org for more info.
Click here for the AAC Main Street entertainment schedule
here for the AAC Art Gallery lineup,
and here for all the AAC Maple Festival news.
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460