CNY Maple Festival

CNY Maple Festival

Posted by  //  March 22, 2022  //  Festivals, News

The winter of 1971 had been a cold and difficult one. The very first Maple Festival was scheduled for the end of March on the 28th and 29th. There were banks and pastures still under snow. 

Whether it was “cabin fever” or “spring fever”, we do not know, but something caused the whole world to come to the little Village in the Town of Marathon on that first Maple Festival weekend, fifty years ago.

Maple Festival organizers thought they were prepared. But, really they did not have anything to pattern after. No community near or far had tried to pull off such an event. They were reaching into a tool box that was empty, yet we know it was filled with common sense.

A tidal wave washed over the community that first day. All of the organizations that offered food sold out!  Stunned, tired, excited, and determined, volunteers went home to cook and bake more, while others motored to Cortland or Binghamton to get necessary items for the next day.

Fifty years ago our Maple Festival Pioneers were knocked off balance for a short period of time. Then, they seized the moment and dug right in to make sure the second day of the Festival was as good as the first.

In that time, there was an Executive Director of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce, and he praised the Marathon Community and its accomplishment in sponsoring the first Maple Festival. Ralph Jordan said “Your achievements have caused envy and bewilderment throughout Cortland County.”  Initially there were statements of “It couldn’t be done” and “How can a community the size of Marathon pull off such a stirring performance?” but it was done, he said, “because your community was “tuned in” to an idea and “turned on” to what it could accomplish for your community…in other words you took up the challenge.”

Mr. Jordan went on to say, “Communities must keep in mind that it takes do-ers to build what thinkers create.”

The benefits the Maple Festival has brought to Marathon are numerous. The one ingredient worth more than the rest is pride in the community. There is a “can do spirit” too!  Marathon people know how to work  together for the betterment of the community.  We have raised two generations since that first Maple Festival. Our young people think there has always been a Maple Festival. Yes, we are a small town where big things happen!

Marathon folks have Maple Festival stories. On Saturday, April 2, in the High School Auditorium at 3p.m. there will be time set aside for the do-ers, visitors, and guests to reminisce about their experiences over the years while attending or working at the Maple Festival. Former queens, Committee Chairs, pancake flippers and eaters, maple producers, and more will be welcomed to share their memories that day.  You are invited to listen and learn. We are proud to tell the story of Marathon folks who dared to dream big and work hard to make the dream come true.

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