The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival is known for its big crowds, but there are a host of small things that go into making it possible.
Take, for instance, the parking situation that sees thousands of people shuttled in hay wagons to and from the festivities in the downtown core. In even finer detail, there are small sets of stairs that allow passengers to embark and disembark.
Ahead of next spring’s return to an in-person festival, Murray Taylor is working on that very detail, looking to replace the existing wood stairs with new, safer metal versions. The festival needs 25 sets of them at $400 a pop, and he’s hoping sponsors will step forward to help with what boils down to one of those essential functions most of us don’t really think about.
“If there’s no parking, there’s really no festival,” said Taylor, pointing to the logistics of welcoming tens of thousands of people to downtown Elmira for one day of celebrating all things maple.
In return for a $400 donation to cover the cost of a set of stairs, a sponsor will see their names emblazoned on the stairs that will be in use for many years to come.
“Once your name is on, it’s on for every year the festival comes back out. There are thousands of people who are going to see your name on the side of it once that big day is here.
“It can be families in memory of a family member who maybe was prominent in the festival or maybe sold maple syrup. That can be a service group. It can be a street that can get together and put their own name on it,” he said of the sponsorship opportunities.
“The new stairs are a huge improvement. They’ve got to handrails of steel, they’re anti-slip, they’re galvanized – they’re beautiful,” he said. “The old ones had handrails on one side – some people could slip off the one side – now the new ones have handles on both sides.”
The $400 donation goes to cover the cost of each set.
“The $400 is strictly for the materials. No one is making a cent off of this entire endeavour,” said Taylor, noting a local manufacturer is donating the labour.
Anyone looking to get involved can reach Taylor at email@example.com.