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Maple syrup being boiled to make toffee - CARLEY MCGLYNN

Maple syrup being boiled to make toffee – CM

Saturday was the 48th annual and popular Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. Just outside of Waterloo, thousands gathered in the heart of Elmira for the annual festival. It’s the world’s largest one-day maple syrup festival that boasts sugar bush tours, antique shows, craft sales and a popular outdoor mall featuring local arts and crafts and outrageously indulgent food, such as deep fried Mars bars, maple burgers and sausages, potato torpedoes and funnel cakes.

As a newbie to the festival this year, I was not sure what was in store. I brought a few of my friends out with me for a nice morning of indulging in maple syrup, toffee and of course, we couldn’t leave without trying the deep fried Mars bars. Parking was available on the ‘outskirts’ of the festival, was clearly signed and cost a mere $5. There was a lot of cars and people, so expect to wait for a ‘tractor trolly’ to pick you up from the parking areas to transport you to the core, festival area near Arthur Street.

To begin our morning, we checked out the ‘food mall’, which was packed with people, all lined up waiting to treat themselves to the festival food. There were many family friendly activities, including main stage entertainment, pony rides, a pancake breakfast, petting zoo and sugar bush tours. There was even an area where maple sugar was being boiled the old fashioned way over a wood fire to be later made into maple toffee rolled up on snow in front of you – this was delicious! It was nice to see many local, non-profit organizations being supported at the festival, and many local maple syrup producers were showcasing and selling this year’s product.

It was clear that festival organizers knew a thing or two about running the world’s largest maple syrup festival, as activities were well organized and crowds were managed effectively. A big shout out to all the volunteers who made the whole day possible!

Residents of the Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area sure love their maple syrup! The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival was a fun day out of the house, made especially better with signs of spring on it’s way with the sun shining. My advice for those already saving the date for next year, the festival’s big 50th anniversary, prepare for weather and crowds, but do expect a spectacular local experience.

Toffee being rolled - CARLEY MCGLYNN

Toffee being rolled by festival volunteers – CM

The infamous 'mall' on Arthur Street - CARLEY MCGLYNN

The infamous ‘mall’ on Arthur Street – CM

Maple syrup producer selling homemade product - CARLEY MCGLYNN

Maple syrup producer selling homemade product – CM