Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 20, 2013

Wacky weather for Waky Festival

WAKARUSA ­— The 44th Annual Maple Syrup Festival in Wakarusa got off to a cold and blustery start Friday under cloudy skies and with temperatures hovering in the lower 40s, the festival saw an occasional snowflake on the opening day.

Deb Shively, Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce said that organizers were disappointed in the weather.

Wakarusa Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Todd Scheets, said the weather was a factor in the decision to move the festival to late April about 12 years ago.

“For all those years we had it in March this is the way it was,” he said. “In fact it would be a little worse than this.”

Shively said the people involved in the festival have been understanding.

“All the vendors have been kind,” she said. “We say ‘batten down the hatch and stick it out until tomorrow’ because we’re really looking forward to having better weather tomorrow.”

According to Shively, the festival will pick up today with the parade at 10 a.m., followed by entertainment such as Casey Weston of NBC’s The Voice and performer Corey Cook.

There are also shuttles available to take visitors to the Sugar Camp for tours, as well as to the Wakarusa Historical Museum.

According to Shively, the festival is getting back to some of its original traditions this year. She said when the festival began antiquers would be set up in the NorthWood Middle School gymnasium and people would go to the school for the Lions Club pancake and sausage meal and then go antiquing.

“It was based around the Lions Club pancake and sausage and the antiquers in the gym,” she said. “And then the antiquers went away for a while so this is the first year we’re inviting them back. It sort of brings back that old tradition where you get your pancakes and sausage and go see antiquers.”

Shively said that with better weather tomorrow and all of the activities, it will help the festival end happily.

“People can just have a great day out with the parade, the popcorn and the entertainment and the contests,” she said. “It’s a good thing we end on the good note, it makes you sort of forget Friday.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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