A History of the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival
In 1966, a small group of 15 or 16 people gathered in the living room of Elmvale School Principal Doug Rose to plan a maple syrup festival. As a result of the meeting, the first Elmvale and District Syrup Festival was held April 9, 1966 yielding a profit of $484.12. Doug Rose, the organizer of the first festival, also became the first chairman. During the next two years, 1967 and 1968, the festival became bigger and better. Profits were distributed among the organizing groups.
After the 1968 festival, Howard Ritchie took over the job of chairman of the newly formed Elmvale and District Maple Syrup Committee. In 1969, the chairman’s position was passed on to Don Thompson. The committee officially received their charter from the Lt. Governor of Canada in 1981 and was renamed the Elmvale and District Festival Association. With the incorporation came two signing officers, Don Thompson and Kennedy Barnett, as well as nine directors. Don and Kennedy continued to direct the festival into the late 1990s.
For several years after that, Jim King and Betty Barnett, wife of Kennedy, became the directing forces behind the Festival. Wayne Thompson, along with Tony Hope and a myriad of assistants/directors followed. Then, Bonnie Clarke was moved into the leadership role with Irene Burgler at her right hand. Now Jerry Rebidoux leads the team of dedicated volunteers.
Many changes have expanded the festival over the years. Instead of the load being on the shoulders of only a few, we now have many assistants and committee leads who do their jobs for the betterment of the Elmvale area. We thank them.
This annual celebration since 1966 has blossomed into the second largest festival of its kind in Ontario, drawing crowds of over 30,000 people and supplying funds which aid community-minded projects in the Elmvale Area, fulfilling the mission statement of contributing to the physical, intellectual, cultural, emotional, or spiritual well-being of our community.
Mark these dates in your calendar – Enjoy The Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival every April:
48th - April 20, 2013
49th - April 26, 2014
50th - April 18, 2015
51st - April 16, 2016
52nd - April 22, 2017 53rd - April 21, 2018