Highland County Maple Festival returns with in-person celebration this weekend

The festival will have 10 sugar camps where you can watch and learn how the process of how farmers make maple syrup

MONTEREY, Va. – The Maple Festival is a staple in Highland County and there has been plenty of excitement boiling to have it fully back this year. You will be able to satisfy your sweet tooth with all you can pancakes covered in maple syrup, maple cinnamon rolls, maple covered chicken. Anything with maple — you name it they’ve got it.

The festival has been bringing visitors to Highland county since 1959. Some of the food vendors include Clair’s Cake Company, The Curly Maple and Highs Restaurant. Besides the food, there will be live entertainment and a craft show. You can also use the festival as an opportunity to educate yourself on maple syrup. This year the festival will have 10 sugar camps where you can watch and learn how the process of how farmers make maple syrup.

“There are different techniques, different ways to get that done. No matter which sugar camp you come to, you will be able to see that. Some of the sugar camps have been doing it for generations,” said Chris Swecker, executive director of Highland County Chamber of Commerce. “Some are first-generation, and it is just a really unique process to see this really unique North American food.”

Some of the farms that will be offering free tours include Back Creek Farms, Duff’s Sugar House, Eagle’s Sugar Camp and Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard.

In 1999, the Library of Congress designated the Highland County Maple Festival a “Local Legacy.” In 2014 the Governor of Virginia signed a bill into law designating the festival as the official Maple Festival of Virginia.

Each year, tens of thousands of visitors travel to Virginia’s least populated county to celebrate all things maple. Swecker said the community really felt the effects of not having the festival for the past two years.

“The Maple Festival really is the main economic driver in this community for civic organizations, the schools, local businesses and for our arts and crafts vendors who come from different states and all throughout Virginia,” said Swecker.

The festival will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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