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Maple syrup being bottled by Jay Eagle
Maple syrup being bottled by Jay Eagle Photo: Sandy Hevener

Highland Maple Festival (Highland County)

In 1959 the Highland County Chamber of Commerce decided to stage a small "open house" at a maple sugar camp to promote the county's quality maple syrup, drawing an attendance of 600. Subsequent years saw demonstrations of open-kettle maple syrup production, the crowning of a Maple Queen, the showing of Tol'able David, a 90-minute silent movie filmed in Highland County in 1921, a six-mile run, and, in 1983, the opening of a Maple Museum.

Today, more than 60,000 visitors to the Highland Maple Festival observe the entire syrup-making process, starting with the collection of "sugar water" (maple sap). They enjoy pancakes smothered with Highland-produced maple syrup served by local restaurants, schools, and Ruritan Clubs; buy additional treats (maple-flavored donuts, funnel cakes, apple dumplings, barbecued chicken) from local church and civic groups and athletic clubs; watch local cloggers and line dancers perform; and attend a juried craft show representing 130 artists and craftspeople from nearby states. The Highland County Maple Festival has become as important to the county's cultural heritage as it has to the survival of the area's maple sugar industry.

Project documentation comprises a report, slides, newspaper articles from 1986 to 1999, promotional brochures, an exhibitor's map, and souvenirs (postcards, stickers, key rings, buttons, sleeve patch).

Originally submitted by: Bob Goodlatte, Representative (6th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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