Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — SHELBY — The golden temperature range that causes sap to come running out of maple trees was unobtainable Saturday afternoon, but the sugarhouses at maple farms across the state were busy with activity.
Maple Weekend, the annual, two-week celebration of the state’s booming maple industry, began Saturday with tastings, tours and educational sessions.
Hundreds of cabin fever-stricken visitors packed into tree-filled locations like Flyway Farm in Shelby, where the event continues today and next weekend.
Jason and Bridget Wagner of Niagara Falls drove out to Flyway Farm before hitting the two Niagara County stops — Wolf Maple Products in Middleport and Niagara Forestry in Cambria — on the way home. They’ve wanted to take their children, Emma, 4, and Ethan, 2, to see tree tapping.
“Both of our kids are old enough that we can do this in the cold,” Jason said. “They love pancakes,” — an assertion that Emma quickly agreed with.
“Now we can show where the syrup come from.”
Pat and Terry Laubisch have been a part of Maple Weekend since the beginning, hosting a growing number of visitors at their West Shelby Road farm.
Pat spoke with pride from behind a table packed with maple sugar treats like cookies, candies and maple-coated pretels. Flyway Farm’s maple syrup has taken six medals in each of the past two state fairs to go with a Best in Show prize from 2008.
Although she and her husband were bundled up, they enjoyed speaking face to face with curious visitors.
“I like it better (when it’s cold),” Pat said. “We can talk with everyone and they are all so excited to come out.”
Debbie and Jeff Washburn of Cheektowaga bundled into the sugarhouse a few minutes after the Wagners. They traveled to Shelby to pick up their annual supply of extra dark maple syrup, which they agreed had a stronger flavor than lighter varieties.