ST. ALBANS, Vt. - The sap has been flowing here for about two months and buckets of the clear liquid drawn from maple trees have been turned into syrup inside steaming sugarhouses.
Now it's time to celebrate with the 42d annual Vermont Maple Festival from Friday to Sunday.
Here by the shores of Lake Champlain, St. Albans taps its talent with hearty pancake breakfasts, cooking demonstrations, antiques, a maple exhibit hall, craft and specialty food shows, face painting, sugarhouse tours, a parade, a road race, and plenty of entertainment.
Stroll the streets. Rock, jazz, and country sounds flow from the outdoor Main Street Stage, the thoroughfare lined with purveyors of county fair cuisine. Relax a bit on the benches in Taylor Park under the maple trees.
On Saturday night, get those toes tapping during the two-hour Fiddlers' Variety Show in the Bellows Free Academy auditorium.
For those who feel the need for a quick nibble on sweets, head to the Exhibit Hall off Fairfield Street. Inside, first sniff and then sample a seasonal cornucopia: maple cream doughnuts, maple syrup, maple fudge, and maple candy.
Sunday's Grand Parade at 1 p.m. is straight down Main Street, and features marching bands, prancing horses, Vermont Maple King and Queen, shiny fire trucks, and homespun floats.
Vermont Maple Festival, April 25-27, St. Albans, Vt. 802-524-5800, vermontmaplefestival.org. Many free events, others with admission (pancake breakfast 7-noon at City Elementary School, $6 adults, $3 children, Bellows Street and fiddlers show 7 p.m. Saturday, tickets $7).
Directions: St. Albans is about 240 miles, or about four hours, from Boston. Head north on Interstate 93 into New Hampshire, merging north on I-89 eventually crossing into Vermont. Take exit 19 toward US-7/VT-36/St. Albans. Turn right on US 7, then left on Lake Street (VT 36) to St. Albans.