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Maple in the County festival welcomes spring

PEC maple producers raise a glass of the sweet stuff to launch this year's festival.

Maple Mable joins in to raise a glass of the sweet stuff to launch this year’s festival.

Maple in the County will tap into its 15th year of saluting the sweetest welcome to spring.

The annual celebration – set for March 19-20 – was launched last week at the Three Dog Winery, and owner John Squair noted the celebration kicks of the whole tourist season in Prince Edward County.

“We’re expecting in the neighbourhood of 15,000 to 20,000 people,” said Ron Hubbs. “We thought it would have been something we did for a few years and it would fade away, but it just kept getting bigger and better.”

Thousands visit the award-winning festival showcasing nine sugar bushes, five pancake breakfasts and 18 other stops over the two day festival.

MPP Todd Smith noted he managed to have breakfast four times while touring the maple sites with his family last year, and looks forward to trying the new additions at this year’s event.

“There’s so many people in Ottawa who, when you mention the County, know it and want to visit here,” said MP Neil Ellis. “Events like this put the riding on the map.”

Mayor Robert Quaiff noted the figure of 700,000 visitors to Prince Edward County last year could easily become one million due to the high American dollar.

Rob Peck noted Maple in the County is the biggest event the County does all year and its charm is due to the rich variety of unique things to do.

For example, Sue and Todd Vader, the longest producing family in the County (since 1910) on the south side of East Lake, will be showing how syrup is made, sharing maple popcorn, and taffy on a stick. They will also be showing off top honours received at last fall’s Royal Winter Fair – including first prize for maple butter and Premier Exhibitor Maple Syrup.

Kyle Baldwin, of Waupoos Winery and Sugarbush, has been making syrup for generations – beginning with his grandmother’s family in Quebec.

He will be inviting visitors to the winery and sugarbush to enjoy a stroll with the chickens, visit the ducks and goats and enjoy taffy on snow (weather permitting). Their pancake breakfast and maple inspired lunch inside the Gazebo Restaurant will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be free tastings at the winery of their Maple Ice.

Also in Waupoos, the County Cider Company will be serving Apple Crepes with Maple Cream.

Macaulay House will be demonstrating 1850s traditional maple themed baking and crafts on the Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Kitchen samples will include Maple butternut squash and apple soup; potato pancakes, mulled cider, gingerbread and scones.

The County is holding free public skating at the Picton arena Saturday from 9-11 a.m. and from 6-8 p.m. in Wellington. More free skating on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. in Picton.

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  1. Bill Roberts says:

    An incredible event in The County.
    Be sure to check out Three Dog Winery and Walts too.
    And the Sophiasburgh Maple Pub Night will be outstanding.
    We have a great deal to enjoy and be thankful for!

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