Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival celebrates 54th year

Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 1:44 AM EDT
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WAKARUSA, Ind. (WNDU) - What do fair food, live entertainment, and maple syrup all have in common?

They can all be found at the Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival. This sweet-themed festival is in its 54th year, offering everything from locally made maple candies to popcorn and, of course, maple syrup.

“We have a whole assortment of maple products, so there’s maple popcorn, there’s maple syrup,” says Jenny Neely, Executive Chair for the Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival. “We have donuts with maple icing, maple cotton candy, tons of ‘maple-icious.’ And it’s really a way to celebrate the maple syrup that we can tap around here, and we’ve just added a lot of fun things to do all around maple syrup.”

The festival provides numerous opportunities for kids just to be kids.

“I did the flag football tournament, which was really, really fun,” says Jamison, a young Festivalgoer. “Having all different kids and everyone together, different age groups, and it’s also been cool to walk down the (street) and see all of our community together.”

As part of the annual festival, they also crown a Maple Syrup Queen, who shared what being this year’s queen means to her.

“It means a lot,” says Jalayne Hurst, the 2023 Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival Queen. “I like getting to know other people by walking around, and just the fact that I can be a role model for younger girls is great.”

While festivals in the past have included entertainment, this is the first year the entertainers get to perform at the brand-new Doc Abel Pavilion, which had its ribbon cutting yesterday.

“We’re going to hold all of our festival entertainment events here,” Neely said. “We’ll be able to hold Halloween parties, Christmas parties, and we’re going to rent it out; it’s going to have a ton of uses.”

Festivalgoers tell 16 News Now that they look forward to one thing, in particular, every year.

“Probably the food,” says sisters Adrianna and Sarah Steinmetz. “Yeah, the food, because we haven’t got to go on any of the rides yet. Just walking around and the tractor ride, it’s just really fun. We got maple cotton candy, and it was really good. That’s what we get every year, and it tastes so much like maple.”

And organizers say this festival is the perfect way to kick off the festival season.

“The whole committee, we just really try to put on a really fun event for the whole community to enjoy,” Neely said. “Most of it is free, so it’s just a really great festival to come out and enjoy.”

If you haven’t made it out to the festival yet, its final day is Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more details on events at this year’s festival, click here.