No maple syrup festival leaves Wakarusa economy reeling

WAKARUSA, Ind. — Sunday would have marked the final day of a spring tradition in Michiana, but after 50 years in a row, the Wakarusa Maple Syrup festival is not taking place – leaving its local businesses severely short on revenue.

Festival Co-Chair Todd Scheets said it was a decision organizers never thought they’d have to make.

“We finally decided that the way this virus was going that there was just no way that we could even try and do the festival,” Scheets said.
“We just decided we just need to pull the plug and just not do it, but it was gut-wrenching. It was horrible.”

J & A Farms, which produces and sells local natural maple syrup, said as a result of the festival’s cancellation it has more than 600 gallons of syrup in stock.

Richmond’s Feed Service store remains open as an essential business, but its owners still said they feel the town’s financial struggle personally, and want to make sure it’s not forgotten to the rest of Michiana.

“We’re going to come back and next year is going to be bigger and better, and we’re just going to make it the best that we can be,” Store Manager Jenny Neely said.
“I think the same goes for all the Wakarusa businesses too, that we’ll all just work hard to make our businesses even better.”

Scheets said the festival will return in 2021, pending the future pandemic situation.

Anyone wanting to buy local maple syrup can order by calling 574-354-8491.

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