Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival

Warkworth is a small town southeast of Rice Lake and 25km North of the the 401 from the Brighton turn off. But the town does not think small in special events and festivities. Warkworth has a great line up of festivals and special events including the outdoor Long Lunch at the beginning of the Summer followed by the Warkworth Rodeo in July and culminating with the Perfect Pie Competition in the late Fall among other activities. But the event that starts the year off and sets the tone for all the remaining festivities in the year is the Maple Syrup Festival just before Spring. This festival catches the Spring Sugar Bush run off in the Maple dotted forests around Warkworth. There are a whole range of activities out at the Sandy Flats Sugar Bush Center including a Pancake and Sausage Break, Sleigh Ride through the Sugarbush, Sawing and other competitions plus local entertainers putting on some great local musical and dancing shows. Its fun and the activities at the Sugar Bush continue into early Spring [check here for details]. The Maple Syrup Festival has broadened well beyond visiting the Sugar Bush [there is a convenient bus ride service from the Warkworth to the Sugar Bush] and now offers an expanding potpourri of activities and events in Warkworth itself. Actually this spread of events and activities is just a good insurance policy for Maple Syrup Festival because near-Spring weather can turn catankerous. This year there has been winds and a steady drizzle on Saturday followed by snow on Sunday clearing to gray skies stillwanting to drizzle. But the streams are down right boisterous:
So for people waiting for a bus to get out to the Sugar Bush, the Maple Syrup Festival organizers have provided a wealth of activities   starting with the Petting Zoo   right at the Main Street bus stop to the Sugar Bush Also nearby there are a variety of   indoor activities. In short the Maple Syrup Festival offers lots of activities regardless of the fickle March weather.  
The petting zoo is a real favorite especially for the kids. This is a sampler for what the kids will get to see and touch out at the Sugar Bush. I   had a good chuckle as several kids identified the “Aflac Ducks” at the Warkworth petting zoo. Meanwhile, St. Paul’s United Church, one of the pillars of the community, offers its community facilities for refreshments and some child absorbing fun.
For the arts, crafts and antiques shoppers Warkworth itself and nearby Campbellford, Hastings, and Roseneath have plenty of shops to sample from. But the Maple Syrup Festival has expanded its own offerings for the past few years and now presents a gamut of great exhibits and shows.
For Antiquers, Warkworth Elementary School was crammed to the corridors and gym rafters with all sorts of antique goodies. Any antiques roadshow buff could find old wooden table hockey games, great 30’s and 40’s post cards and posters, plus great big work chests and even great saws to sink your collector’s teeth into. And photo buffs would find more good picture taking opportunities per square foot than one could shake a dozen different salt and pepper shakers at.
The Canadian Legion Centre at the Top of the Hill offered both a bite to eat and a wonderful set of country crafts. This is what used to be one of the Toronto Royal Winter Fairs attractions but it has become so hectic, expensive and shrill. Take Warkworth for a)better prices, b)more relaxed pace and c) some wonderful craft surprises. In fact, the Crafts Fair is so popular that the Warkworth City Hall, already famous for housing the Fall Perfect Pie Competition, has opened up to accommodate the overflow of craft suppliers.
Another real prize at the Maple Syrup Festival were the artistic sweets to be found at the Art Show.
The show sponsored by the Spirit of the Hills Art Association had quite a number of local painters and photographers on exhibit. There were also some wonderful sculptors, potters, glass crafts people and other media. It was an exciting show highlighted by the wonderfully laconic Long Lunch painted sculpture/3D piece. This was a very tongue in cheek work which was nonetheless certainly enjoyed by most Warkworthians whose Summer Long Lunch Fest was subject to some good natured spoofing. The show was a great find along with the crafts and antiques. And so there you have it – the Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival is more than an outdoors outing for the kids – its also a great arts and craft tour starting point. The hill and countryside are just emerging into Spring; its wonderful way to get your mind sap flowing too.