The weather didn’t cooperate quite as well as it might have. It was windy and uncomfortably cold, with a few swirling snowflakes mixed in periodically. But despite that, the turnout was good and everyone appeared to be having a good time. The first Mountain Maple Day was declared a success by most participating in it.
“The first Mountain State Maple Day of 2022 was most definitely a sweet success!” enthused Lindsay Kazarick, Future Generations University Appalachian Program Outreach Associate. In addition to being the de facto organizer of much of the event, FGU also had activities of its own taking place at the former McCoy Mill on Thorn Creek Road, south of Franklin. Their mobile sugar shack was set up as a demonstration, and they had a “rocket.”
“We heard from producers across the county and across the state on Saturday, as they participated in tree-tappings, syrup-making, and of course lots of pancake breakfasts and everyone was having a great time! Paul Ronk, West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Association president, welcomed West Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Leonhardt to his farm for a ceremonial tree-tapping, and here locally we got to sample maple moonshine and a buffet of goodies throughout the county’s restaurants. The partnership between the EDA, CVB, and WVMSPA worked to elevate the producers and local businesses and it did just that. We hope to do the same – or even better – on March 19,” Kazarick concluded.
Laura Brown, executive director of the Pendleton County Economic Development Authority, was equally unequivocal in her assessment: “Blue skies greeted visitors this weekend in Pendleton County. Our office loved hearing the feedback from local businesses regarding how successful the first Maple Day was for them. Future Generations University organized a wonderful day for visitors and locals,” adding, “Next week is our first business roundtable of the year and one of our guests is actually Future Generations University Appalachian Program. They’ll be speaking about their program and can give some details about the next Maple Days on March 19. Our office is always available for questions or anyone wanting to get their business showcased during the March Maple Days event. Make sure to follow the Pendleton County EDA Facebook page, too, for a giveaway featuring our county’s five maple syrup producers.”
Saturday’s schedule for the Times reporter included visiting several of the participating businesses, and all reported surprisingly good turnout for a first-time event. They expressed optimism that the second Maple Day, on March 19, weather cooperating, might be even better.
Several additional businesses will be participating in the March event. Watch the Times for listings the week prior to the event.