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State official to get taste of area during Maple Weekend

JOHNSTOWN – State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball may attend a March 20 tree-tapping ceremony in Ephratah to kick off Maple Weekends being promoted by the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Fulton County Director of Tourism Gina DaBiere-Gibbs recently briefed the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee about the event, as part of her monthly tourism report.

DaBiere-Gibbs said maple season generally runs from now through the beginning of April. She said the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association is again hosting two Maple Open House Weekends: March 21 to 22 and March 28 to 29. The events allow the public to take free tours of area sugarhouses and see maple syrup being made onsite.

Participating Fulton County sugarhouses are: Brower Road Sugar House, Gloversville; Frasier’s Sugar Shack, St. Johnsville; Mud Road Sugar House, Ephratah; and Peaceful Valley Maple Farms, Johnstown.

DaBiere-Gibbs said Ball and local officials were invited to participate in a tree-tapping ceremony to kick off Maple Weekends at 1 p.m. March 20 at the Mud Road Sugar House, 278 Mud Road.

“Families are invited to come and experience first-hand the sights, smells and sounds of maple sugar-making,” DaBiere-Gibbs said. “The event has been so successful, it has been expanded to two weekends, giving more opportunities to visit sugarhouses.”

The sugarhouses will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days of both weekends. Most sugarhouses will offer samples and demonstrations. Many of the locations will also serve pancake breakfasts.

DaBiere-Gibbs said Monday that the state’s promotion of such events has helped with attendance in recent years.

“I think it’s a state thing and several [maple] producers throughout the weekends are open,” she said. “Also, there’s the growing popularity of agri-tourism.”

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