What is more Canadian than some fresh maple syrup, brewed straight from the tree? The delicious sugary nectar is one of our national symbols, and for good reason. In south-western Ontario, we pride ourselves on delicious mapley goodness, and every year the small town of Elmira hosts an entire festival dedicated to it. Nick and I have been going now for around six years, and it’s always a great time! There is a petting zoo, local vendors, food trucks, traditional maple taffy, pancakes, a vintage toy show, sugar bush tours….the list goes on! Here are some of the things we got to do this year!
First thing we did was obviously start eating as soon as possible! They shut down the downtown main street, and set up a huge line up of dozens of vendors. You can get sausage on a bun, apple fritters, poutine, turkey legs, tornado potatoes, perogies, funnel cakes, beaver tales, corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, deep fried mars bars, cotton candy, giant pretzels, and every version of maple syrup you can imagine! This year I partook in some corn on the cob, which is literally dipped into a crock pot full of melted butter, a tornado potato, a cheesy pretzel, apple fritters, and some maple cotton candy. I may have had a bit of a belly ache later that day…
Next was the animal farm! It was 50 cents to get in, but I think it was very very worth it! There was a pig, a cow, horses, bunnies, goats, mini ponies, donkeys, chickens, alpacas, and a hay stack maze! Unfortunately, the maze was about waist high on all of us so we skipped it. But we got to pet a ton of animals! The pig and donkey were the most interested in getting some attention, coming right up to the fence and nudging your hand if you stop petting them. The bunnies, calf, ponies, and alpacas were much less willing to be poked and prodded by the crowd, and stay close to the center of their pens. I did manage to get one good pat on the alpaca, and holy are they ever soft! I was shocked at how light and fluffy their fur was. Too bad they weren’t very friendly, and I wasn’t able to snuggle it like I wished I could!
Lastly, Nick and I decided to try out the log sawing! They have this activity on every year, but we’ve never actually tried it! It’s basically just sawing a log with a huge, two person saw. You get to keep the small piece you sawed off, and they brand it with a maple leaf for a cool souvenir. It was surprisingly good exercise! Not only are you pulling a saw across hard wood, but you have to rock your whole body back and forth to make the most out of each pass. I was definitely out of breath by the time we made it through our tree. It was also fun watching the little kids try to work together to get the job done. Apparently the key to using this type of saw is to never push it, just let your partner pull it away, and then pull it back. The younger ones didn’t quite grasp that whole patience thing.
That was pretty much all we did this year. Between that and walking the vendors, we spent about three hours there. They also have sugar bush tours, shows to watch, old fashioned sugar taffy demonstrations, and a vintage toy show, but we were pretty cold by the afternoon and wanted to head home and sit down for a while. It was still an awesome time and I am already excited for next year! Local events are so much fun, especially when they’re themed around something like maple syrup!