The Highland County Maple Festival is Back in 2022 – Part 1

Hi, this is Chris Swecker, Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.  I’m here to talk about the return of the Highland County Maple Festival set for March 12 – 13 and March 19 – 20.  This will be the first time since 2019 that we will have had the festival and it’s been a long three years.  Everyone in the community is getting ready to welcome back all the visitors that have missed it just like we have and I can tell you we are so excited for it’s return.

This year our festival will feature ten unique sugar camps that are open for the public for free tours.  There will be ten open on Saturdays and eight open on Sundays.  And, as usual, there will be a chance to view traditional and modern techniques for creating maple syrup from tree to bottle.  Of course, there will be other flavors of syrup including one infused with native plants and some that are aged in spirit barrels, as well as black walnut syrup, hickory syrup, and even birch syrup.  New for 2022, the familiar faces of Back Creek Farms that have been set up typically at the Courthouse Lawn in Monterey, they will now have their sugar camp open as our tenth sugar camp along beautiful Back Creek in the western portion of Highland County.  They’ll have food and craft vendors onsite down there including Brothers Craft Brewing, which will have a special stout that is maple, bacon, coffee flavored and it’s called Daylight Cravings.  That will be available for consumption onsite.

In addition to the sugar camps, we’ll obviously have tons of delicious food all around the county.  So, the local Ruritan Clubs in Blue Grass, Bolar and McDowell will have their all-you-can-eat regular and buckwheat pancakes with sides available and there will even be some to go options.  In Monterey, the public schools will also be serving their all-you-can-eat regular and buckwheat pancakes as well.   Of course, almost everyone’s favorite, the famous donuts from the Mill Gap Ruritan Club they’ll be going on both weekends from 6am to 1pm.  Most of the Ruritan Clubs will have their pancake meals starting as early as 7am.  There will be additional food all around the county, really no matter where you go, whether it’s at a sugar camp, one of our firehouses or even along Main Street in Monterey.  Anything from funnel cakes to pork rinds to more donut options and our North Water Street Food Court in Monterey will offer treats like maple fudge, pizza flatbreads, waffle on a stick, chorizo white queso fries, falafel, and much more.

We’ll have over 100 juried arts & crafts vendors available in Monterey and McDowell, providing one-of-a-kind treasures, tasty treats, and special gifts.  Again, all of these are handmade one-of-a-kind items.  Our crafters and artisans really spend a lot of time honing their skills to bring you these special gifts and after a challenging two years we really hope you support them and really see all the work that they put into their crafts.

For the arts and crafts show at the Highland High School and Highland Elementary School gyms, we do have a $3 entry fee that, of course, comes with our collectible Maple Festival key chain.  And this year we do want to let you know that our keychain will be branded with “2020”, but they will grant visitors entry for 2022.  That $3 keychain also gets you into noon entertainment at The Highland Center all four days of the festival.

The traditional hours of the festival are Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but, again, if you want to get started earlier you can have those earlier all-you-can-eat regular and buckwheat pancake meals at the civic clubs and different areas set up a little bit earlier and might go a little bit later.

You can get details about all the festival happenings at our website at, and we also have posts that highlight the events at our Facebook page at

So, we’ll have a lot more coming up for you in part two of this story about the festival offerings.

For Allegheny Mountain Radio, this is Chris Swecker.



Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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