The community of Shepherd, located in Central Michigan, will celebrate its 61st annual Maple Syrup Festival on April 25-28, 2019. We invite you to come and celebrate with us.
It was August of 1958 when the Board of Directors of the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce decided to host a Maple Syrup Festival. The Shepherd Sugar Bush Corporation was created and began planning for Shepherd’s first one-day festival. One hundred twenty five gallons of maple syrup were produced, and a few hundred meals were served. Over the past decades the festival has evolved into a three-day festival during which 9,000 meals are served. This is only possible thanks to the help of our many volunteers and visitors from all over Michigan and neighboring states.
In the beginning, the festival’s goal was to earn enough money to finance an eight-week summer recreation program for children in the Shepherd school district. Over the years, as we grew, proceeds from the festival have made it possible to fund a ten-week summer program, maintain a community park, and purchase a plot of land north of Shepherd which is currently being developed into a community park and sports facility, with soccer fields, a pavilion, and much more planned for the future.
Work on the syrup, candy, and all other areas of the festival is voluntary and almost everyone in our village participates! Children work with adults carrying sap buckets during the sap run in early March. Many retirees are our most faithful sausage makers. Would you believe that we make two-and one-half tons of sausage before the festival.
Other pre-festival activities include a Princess Pageant on March 9 at 1 p.m. The Royalty Pageant will take place on April 20 at 3 p.m. Both pageants are held at the high school auditorium. The annual silverware wrapping bee will take place on April 13 at the school. Then we all work together again during festival weekend. Our very famous and delicious pancakes, maple syrup, and sausage meals will be served inside the Shepherd High School Cafeteria Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.
During the festival, we offer activities that everyone will enjoy. These include: 10K & 5K Run/Walk, craft shows, three museums, tractor pulls, classic car display, two parades, quilt show, petting zoo, worship service, plus amusement, sugar bush open house and tours, syrup and maple products sales and pony rides all add up to a most memorable weekend.
We invite you to witness hometown hospitality at its best and join us in the “Sweetest Little Town Around.”