By Barbie Porter
Vergas Maple Syrup Festival is back on Saturday, April 10, along with fun events and shopping sprees to make the day enjoyable for all ages.
The fun starts with the pancake feed from 8-11 a.m., followed with the popular 5K walk/run and the medallion hunt starting at 9 a.m., the maple leaf hunt at 10 a.m. and stores downtown will have specials all day long.
Sherri Hanson helps organizes the event with other Vergas Community Club members an Vergas Lions members. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be canceled last year, and Hanson is hoping the year off made the heart grow fonder for those tried and true visitors. The Vergas clubs are also hoping the seasonably warm weather draws those summer visitors to lake country, and possibly gives new people a taste of Vergas’ Maple Syrup Festival.
Because the pandemic is still ongoing, there are two options, the traditional inside seating and the drive thru option.
“We will have limited seating indoors,” Hanson said. “We will also have outdoor seating available.”
To follow state-mandated guidelines, the facility can allow 175 people at a time, with limited seating areas and proper distancing between groups. Hanson explained when a person enters, there will be someone there to inform them if seating is available or if they are at capacity.
For the to-go or drive thru meals, the fresh maple syrup will be served in lidded containers and the hearty breakfast will include pancakes, sausage and juice, just like indoors.
The big breakfast costs $10 and all proceeds go directly to projects in Vergas.
Hanson said the community club and Lions group both have goals they are hoping to achieve with the proceeds. She said the Lions have improvements to make at the event center, such as improving equipment and aesthetics. She noted the community club often uses its share of the proceeds to beautify the city by paying for flowers to go in city planters.
The fun day also includes a maple leaf hunt for kids, maple medallion hunt for all ages and a timed 5K run/walk. Some may also want to participate in the shoppers challenge and see who can walk away with the most unique gift or best deal as stores downtown will be open for the season and celebrating the Maple Syrup Festival as well.
The big draw, aside from flapjacks with pure maple syrup, is the Sap is Running 5K run/walk.
For 5K enthusiasts, the event usually kicks off the season. Sign-up can be done at www.cityofVergas.com or the day of the race from 8-8:30 a.m. at Billy’s Bar. The race starts at 9 a.m. The cost is $30. At 10:30 a.m. at Billy’s Bar the medals and Vergas Maple Festival gear will be handed out to participants.
A kids maple leaf hunt will be held along the primitive path portion of the Long Lake Scenic Trail. Parking is available at the scenic overlook along State Highway 228. The free event is open to kids 6-years-old and younger.
Hanson explained the maple leaf hunt has youngsters searching the area for homemade maple leaves, in the past they have been made of wood. Each child can turn the leaves they find in to the event organizer. In exchange they will get to pick a craft project they can do at home with family or friends.
“I recommend people show up right at 10, or before,” Hanson said. “Once it starts it doesn’t take long for kids to find the leaves.”
The maple medallion hunt usually lasts a bit longer. The game has a special maple medallion hid on public property somewhere in the city. The detectives playing the game must use clues presented every hour on the hour to find the medallion.
“After the clues are read they will be posted at the Vergas Event Center and on the Vergas Community Club Facebook page,” Hanson said, noting when the medallion is found that will be posted as well. “The prize is a medallion copper leaf.”