WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired March 13, 2022.
For many Mainers, Maine Maple Sunday has been an institution for as long as they've known sap could be tapped. As of Tuesday, the beloved occasion was nationally recognized.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King celebrated the Senate’s unanimous passage of a resolution designating March 27, 2022, as Maine Maple Sunday. The annual celebration showcases maple syrup operations throughout Maine and serves as a catalyst for sales.
The resolution, which was authored and introduced by the two Maine senators, recognizes the importance of Maine maple syrup production to the state’s communities, economy, and culture, according to a joint release from their offices.
“Maine Maple Sunday celebrates this long tradition, highlights the excellence of the maple industry, and recognizes the contributions of the small-maple businesses across our state," Collins and King said in the release. "We’re glad the Senate unanimously understood the importance of this uniquely-Maine day and has given it the national recognition it deserves.”
Maine Maple Sunday events were canceled in 2020, and last year's maple weekend was "modified" and held with trepidation, as the pandemic continued to threaten communities. Festivities in 2022 are scheduled for the weekend of March 26 and 27.
Maine has nearly 500 maple producers, 200 of which are members of the Maine Maple Producers Association.
Scott Dunn, the president of Maine Maple Producers Association, told NEWS CENTER Maine some of the 200 members typically make half their annual revenue in that one weekend.
"When we canceled Maine Maple Sunday two years ago, that was one of the worst decisions we had to make because we knew it was going to affect our producers’ bottom line tremendously," Dunn told NEWS CENTER Maine during a tree-tapping event at the Blaine House last week.
Collins and King said Maine's annual syrup output is about 575,000 gallons with a value of about $21.6 million, adding the state is the nation’s third-largest producer of maple syrup and accounts for 17 percent of all maple syrup produced in the U.S.
“Maine Maple Producers have worked hard for the last 39 years to make Maine Maple Sunday the premier spring maple festival in the state by making it both fun and delicious,” Dunn said. “Our producers have a tremendous amount of pride in their Maine maple syrup, and their Maple Sunday events prove it. Being recognized with a United States Senate Resolution shows the country that Maine Maple Sunday is the premier maple event in Maine and the country.”
The Maine Maple Producers Association website has an interactive map of participating businesses. Find a sugar shack near you!