THURMAN - Maple sugaring, that age-old rite of spring, invites North Country folks to break out of snowbound homes and cabins to celebrate the end of winter.
As sap courses through the maples, and sugar makers fire up their evaporators, Thurman maple producers will host open sugarhouses for three weekends in a row.
These events, showcasing life in the olden days, begin Saturday, March 14 and run each Saturday and Sunday through the end of March.
Throughout the celebration at the various sites, there will be sap boiling and demonstrations of tree-tapping, syrup cooking, and other maple sugaring skills. But there's also likely to be snowshoeing, mountain farm tours, sampling and selling of maple confections, sociable pancake breakfasts, and friendly visits with friends old and new.
Annual Jackwax party launches events
The Maple Sugar "Jackwax" Party, now in its 49th year, is the crowning event of this first maple weekend. This ever-popular charity buffet event is set for 4 p.m. Sat. March 14.
Although Jackwax parties have been a tradition in maple country since Colonial times, this particular one was started 50 years ago to help a local family dealing with cancer. The event now draws hundreds of people who come to enjoy live mountain music, a sumptuous buffet and a dessert of real maple Jackwax, or maple syrup ladled over pure snow. Socializing and enjoying the small-town atmosphere, however, is as good as the hearty, savory food.
The party begins at 4 p.m. and continues until all are served. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids aged 6-11, and free for tots five and under. Proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society, and charity never tasted so good.
Participating in this year's Maple Weekends, says event chairman Cheryl Kenyon, will be Adirondack Gold Maple Farm, Martin's Lumber, Toad Hill Maple Farm, Wallaces' Maple and Valley Road Maple Farm. They'll roll out the red carpet at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m., except Valley Road, which opens at 9 for its pancake breakfast. Maps distributed around the area and online at www.Thurman-NY.com will guide people to the sites. For details, call 623-9718 or email ThurmanInfo@aol.com.