On the last full weekend in April, the people of the Central Michigan community of Shepherd celebrate their annual Maple Syrup Festival. It’s a great family weekend with parades, a classic car display, tractor and horse pulls, bingo, arts and crafts, and of course, scrumptious pancake meals all weekend long.
In August of 1958, the Board of Directors of the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce decided to promote a Maple Syrup Festival. The Shepherd Sugar Bush Corporation was created and planning began for the first, one day festival where 125 gallons of maple syrup were made and a few hundred meals were served. Through the years the event has grown to become a three day festival providing up to 11,000 meals. If it had not been for many volunteers and visitors from locations all over Michigan and neighboring states, the festival never could have accomplished all that it has during the past 56 years.
Volunteers are a big part of this event. Mostly all of the work involving the syrup, food, candy or rides is executed by volunteers. The Maple Syrup Festival truly is an event that almost everyone participates in! Children work with adults carrying sap buckets during the sap run in late February or early March. Many retirees are the most faithful sausage makers. Would you believe that two-and-one half tons of sausage is made on the Saturday before the festival? Other pre-festival activities include a queen’s pageant, silverware wrapping bee, and candy making.
As usual there will be the famous and delicious Pancake, Maple Syrup, and Sausage Meals served at the Shepherd High School throughout the event.
All of the planned activities (including craft shows, entertainment, children’s activities, museums, tractor pulls, classic car and tractor displays, parades, chainsaw carving, and amusement train and pony rides) add up to a most enjoyable and memorable weekend for people of all ages. We invite you to witness hometown hospitality at its best and join us in the “Sweetest Little Town Anywhere Around”.