Snow is good for syrup, bad for Maple Fest

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Mar. 11, 2013
This area on the corner of Routes 85 and 66, which normally hosts a bouncy house an various booths during the Maple Fest, still carried a 1-foot blanket of snow as of 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Photos by Melanie Savage.
This area on the corner of Routes 85 and 66, which normally hosts a bouncy house an various booths during the Maple Fest, still carried a 1-foot blanket of snow as of 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Photos by Melanie Savage.

It wasn’t supposed to be a big storm. Forecasts the evening of March 7 called for anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of snow for the Hebron area, so residents got quite a surprise when they woke up the morning of March 8 to find nearly 12 inches of snow on the ground.

“I got a call from [Hebron Town Manager] Mr. Tierney,” said Ron Wenzel, owner of Wenzel Sugar House and a member of the Maple Festival Committee. “He said, 'We’ve got a problem.'” Work crews had been out plowing since 7 p.m. the night before, Tierney told Wenzel, and with more snow falling, there was little chance that parking places and other areas would be clear in time for set-up. The Maple Festival had been postponed once before, according to Wenzel, two or three years ago, due to predictions of high winds and heavy rains. “But we never had to postpone it at 9:30 on Friday morning,” said Wenzel.

With the festival scheduled to open bright and early Saturday morning, set-up needs to begin the night before. “And there was no way that was going to happen,” said Wenzel. So dozens of parties were contacted. “Nobody complained,” said Wenzel. “They all seemed to understand.” The only group unable to reschedule for this coming weekend was the Knights of Columbus. Wenzel said he'd received an e-mail from Church of the Holy Family saying they probably could not accommodate a pancake breakfast on March 16.

“All of the sugar houses will still be open. The craft fair will happen. All of the major events are still on,” said Wenzel. And most visitors heard that the event was postponed, according to Wenzel. “Word got out,” he said. There were a few visitors to the sugar house on the original weekend. “We had one guy from Westchester, N.Y., who showed up,” said Wenzel. Wenzel, who was boiling sap anyway, gave the man a tour and provided him with a list of other local sugar houses. “I told him that most of them would be open anyway,” said Wenzel.

This year is turning out to be a good one for maple syrup, according to Wenzel. “We’ve had a lot of snow,” he said. “The more mud, the more sap. The more sap, the more maple syrup.”

The Hebron Maple Festival has been postponed to March 16 and 17. For more information, go to www.hebronmaplefest.com.


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