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'It’s a springtime tradition': Belmore, Ont. kicks off annual maple syrup festival


It’s April in midwestern Ontario which can only mean one thing: it’s time for the Belmore Maple Syrup Festival.

“Springtime, so it’s time to the Belmore Maple Syrup Festival. Get your pancakes. Buy your syrup, and visit with old friends you haven’t seen all winter,” said Syrup Festival Chairman Alan Willits.

Over the course of Thursday and Saturday, approximately 5,000 pancake lovers will flow through the doors of the Belmore Community Centre. They’ll come from far and wide for their fill of sweet syrup and friendly banter.

“The maple syrup festival is just a tradition here. It’s just excellent. The people are great and the food is superb,” said Don and Lynn Wall of Holyrood.

The Belmore Maple Syrup Festival started innocently enough more than 50 years ago. The town’s arena needed a new roof, so the community came together to start the festival to pay for the roof.

They’ve been going strong ever since, raising thousands of dollars towards the upkeep of their community centre each year.

The 2024 Belmore Maple Syrup Festival in Belmore, Ont. kicked off on April 11, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“The profit of the event keep the arena running, subsidizes it, and it turns a great profit,” explained Willits.

It’s nearly pure profit for the community, because more than 300 volunteers do all the flipping, pouring and serving each and every year.

“I’m semi-retired, so it’s a volunteering community, and they need all the hands they can get. So, I’m happy to help out and do my part,” said volunteer Ron Schnurr.

“I’ve been always wanting to give back to the community. I’m from Wingham, but grew up not far from Belmore, near Mcintosh. So, happy to help,” added long-time attendee but first-time volunteer Roger Burchill.

The 2024 Belmore Maple Syrup Festival in Belmore, Ont. kicked off on April 11, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

It’s that feeling of community — and great pancakes — that keeps people coming back to Belmore year after year since 1968, when the festival first began.

“Been coming 15 years. The food is great. The people are great. The service is excellent, and look at the people. It’s just so well organized,” said John and Eleanor Weigand of Dashwood.

The pancakes, syrups and sausage will be rolling off the assembly line on Saturday in Belmore, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

You can learn more about the event on the Belmore Community Centre website. Top Stories

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