ELIZABETHTOWN - Food, fun, and a connection to local history will all be on tap at the Maple Sugar Festival, held at the Adirondack History Center Museum April 25.
The one-day event, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., marks the beginning of the season for the museum. This will be the third straight year of the event after being revived from its former glory in the late 1950s.
Members of th Elizabethtown Kiwanis and the Elizabethtown-Lewis Chamber of Commerce will serve a pancake breakfast until 1:30 p.m. The cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages six to 12, and $1 for children youngrer than six. Proceeds benefit the museum's programs.
The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School will be open to allow visitors to view the mural recently completed by the school's students. Painted in the style of Edna West Teall of Lewis, the mural represents an arts-in-education project done in partnership with the museum and features the many historic schoolhouses of the region.
"It's exciting because it's part of the kids' making a connection to the community," said museum director Margaret Gibbs.
Beginning at 12:30, horse and buggy rides between the museum and school will be available, weather permitting. At the museum, artwork and poems by Elizabethtown students will be on display and students will be interviewing community members about memories from their school days.
As one of many events part of the 2009 Lake Champlain Quadricentennial celebration, the Maple Festival will highlight the long tradition of syrup production in the Adirondacks, a tradition Gibbs said pre-dates the arrival of Europeans in the area.
Fun events for the whole family will be featured again this year, including the pancake eating contest, maple tapping and sap boiling demonstrations, and a slideshow featuring images from the Maple Festival's 50-year history.
Throughout the day there will be a beard contest for men as festival-goers vote for the longest, thickest, greyest, whitest, most promising and most distinguished beards.
The maple dessert contest also returns this year with entries judged by a committee of local food experts. Desserts will be available for tasting at 2 p.m. and winners of the contest will have their dessert featured at the Deer's Head Inn in Elizabethtown. See the "In Brief" section of this edition of the Valley News for details on how to enter.
New this year is a presentation by Cornell University Maple Specialist Mike Farrell on grading syrup. Farrell, director of the Uihlein Forest Maple Sugar Field Station in Lake Placid, will also be collecting syrup samples from participating maple producers for a judging contest.
The Adirondack History Center Museum is located at 7590 Court Street in Elizabethtown. For more information on the Maple Festival, contact the museum at 873-6466 or visit www.adkhistorycenter.org/cal/maple/maple09.html.