It's a sweet weekend in Kemptville

·2 min read

The Kemptville Agroforestry Centre is hosting the first ever Fall in Love with Maple event this weekend.

The new maple syrup event encourages residents to visit maple syrup operations and managed forests right in their own backyard.

Presented by the On The Bend Sugar Shack and Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association, the maple syrup event is taking place across the province at nearly 40 different sugar bushes from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3, including in partnership with North Grenville.

The Fall in Love with Maple event is taking place at the 18-acre operating sugar bush on the Kemptville Campus lands.

The event invites people to explore what's in your own backyard and celebrate all things maple as we head into the fall season, said North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford.

Activities will run throughout the weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Typically maple-related events take place during the spring months, like the similar Maple Weekend that was cancelled for the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There is still lots of maple syrup so we thought it was a great idea here in Kemptville for us to host and partner this event at Kemptville Campus," said Peckford.

"It's a wonderful space and place to celebrate not just maple syrup, but it's another gathering point for many members of our community," she added.

The sugar bush has been in operation for a few years at the Agroforestry Centre, and has been there since the start of the Kemptville College. It was brought back to life after the University of Guelph stopped maintaining the site and stopped maple syrup productions altogether.

The Fall in Love with Maple event will use the last day of the maple-syrup-filled weekend by dedicating the forest to Peter Wensick, who passed away suddenly in July.

Wensick was well known in the community and helped revive the sugar bush in 2016; he also ran the Agroforestry Centre from 2009 to 2019.

"When Peter took you for a tour in the bush, you never knew what time you'd get back," said Frank Heerkens, president of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers' Association.

"He was a great teacher, great with kids too."

As part of the maple event, there will be live music from local performers, tours of the sugar bush operations, guided tours through the 18 acres of forest, and a pancake breakfast which is free of charge but donations are accepted for the local food bank through the Knights of Columbus.

Peckford said the site hasn't been celebrated like this before, so it's a great reason for residents to come out and explore the sugar bush and its operations.

"We're excited to kind of showcase it and let people know it's there and it's a place to enjoy and reflect and get outside," she added.

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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