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The Highland Mid-Kids Radio Club Interviews Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dorothy Stephenson

Hello, we are from the Highland Mid Kids Radio Club.  I am Erin, Alexis, Wyatt, Ethan.  We are interviewing Dorothy Stephenson from the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

“Hello, Dorothy, how are you?”

“I’m good!”

“We would like to ask you some questions about the wonderful Highland County Maple Festival.  What is your position?”

“I am the Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.”

“Who created the Highland County Maple Festival?”

“The Maple Festival started in 1958 when a group of sugar producers came together to create an event to showcase local sugar production.  The original Maple Festival was at Hevener’s Sugar Farm.”

“When is the Maple Festival?”

“The Maple Festival takes place the second and third weekends of March.  This year, it is March 11th and 12th and March 18th and 19th.”

“When do you start planning for the Maple Festival?”

“After one Maple Festival is over, we take about a month off to gather some data, do some re-planning for next year, and we usually start planning Maple Festival again in May or June.”

“What are the points of interest?”

“ The main points of interest for the Maple Festival include the pancake dinners, which are all around the county, of course, the sugar camps.  We currently have seven sugar camps on the maple tour.  The arts and crafts show is a big draw, and also, a lot of people like to visit the Virginia Trout Company to see the fish and get some fish to take home with them.”

“What kind of vendors will be at the festival?”

“There are all kinds of arts and crafts vendors.  We have everything from artists, jewelry, photographers, people who produce pottery, all kinds of different things.”

“What are your favorite things about the Maple Festival?”

“My favorite thing about the Maple Festival is not even really anything related specifically to the Maple Festival, but more seeing the community spirit, the community pulling together, the youth being involved in the community and seeing everybody just kind of team up and help this annual fundraiser that supports the county, so I think that would be my favorite thing.  It’s just seeing the county pull together.”

“How does Monterey change during the Maple Festival?”

“Well, normally, Highland County has about approximately 2,200 people within the county.  It changes when Maple Festival hits because we can receive anywhere from 40 to 60 thousand people coming in to the county throughout the entire 4 days of the festival.”

“As the Little Switzerland Clogger instructor, are the Little Switzerland Cloggers doing anything for the Maple Festival?”

“Well, yes, Erin, they are.  I’m so glad you brought that up, because I totally forgot to mention the clogging performances.  Yes, the Little Switzerland Cloggers are performing during the Maple Festival.  They will be performing the first Saturday at 2 o’clock in the Elementary School gym.”

“Is there anything else you would like to share with the listeners about the Maple Festival?”

“Maple Festival is a big, hectic time for all of us, and like I said earlier, we draw together as a community, work as a team.  Everybody is running in fifty different directions at once, but I think the biggest thing that we can all remember is to keep patience with each other, work together with a positive attitude, and we will have a great outcome.”

“Thank you!”

“You’re welcome!”

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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