March 23, 2012
Marathon prepping for 42nd Maple Festival
Weekend celebration kicks off tonight with naming of Maple Queen at high school
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Auburn-based Playland Amusements employees Eaireanna Anthony, left, and her sister Cora Vogt inflate prizes Thursday for a carnival game in preparation of Saturday and Sunday’s Central New York Maple Festival.
MARATHON — The trees are tapped, the weather is cooperating and the village of Marathon is getting ready for another Central New York Maple Festival.
The two-day festival is the culmination of thousands of volunteer hours and the hard work of dozens of community organizations.
Mayor John Pitman said the event is important to those organizations in and around the village.
“It means a lot to Marathon,” he said. “It’s a lot of revenue for the groups and clubs, and it helps them do all the work they do around here. It is a lot of work for a lot of volunteers but after 40-something years, they’ve pretty much got it down to a science.”
Tonight the festival kicks off with the crowning of a new Maple Queen at 8 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Samantha McMahon, the 2011 Maple Queen, will serve as the master of ceremonies as her final duty.
The rest of the festival will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The highlight of the weekend, of course, will be the pancake eating contest. The contest, which raises money for local charities and organizations, begins at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Marathon High School Auditorium.
The competition raised $9,011 in 2011.
Defending champion Bill Tillotson of Lisle will try to win again this year. Last year Tillotson ate 26 pancakes in 15 minutes.
This time he plans on enjoying himself more, he said.
“Last year I had them with water. I was a little nervous last year but I have nothing to prove so I’m going to just have a good time.”
Joe LaRue, a professional eater from Kentucky, owns the all-time record of 35 pancakes in 15 minutes. LaRue will be on hand, pouring drinks for the competitors.
Besides plenty of pancakes, maple syrup, maple syrup-inspired creations and the occasional food item without maple syrup, there will be crafts, vendors, demonstrations and live music throughout the weekend.
But there will not be any helicopter rides this year.
Don Hines, who helps bring the helicopter to the Maple Festival, said Scibelli Helicopter, a Massachusetts-based company, has been hit by a run of bad luck.
Last July lightning hit one helicopter and the second one was damaged during the string of tropical storms that hit the East Coast in late August, he said.
“We’ve been trying up until Thursday to get something together but it didn’t come through,” he said.
The company has promised to return to the Maple Festival next year.
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