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Eric Randall of Randall’s Maple Products was one of 11 sugar makers to initiate Maple Weekend about 18 years ago, he says. What started as an educational opportunity has become turned in to a beneficial promotional tool for an industry very important to the Empire State.

“It’d be lying if I said it hasn’t become a huge marketing event,” Randall said. “We will sell a tremendous amount of product during those four days – the two weekends. We’ll have anywhere from 400 to 800 people in one afternoon.”

The maple producing region includes much of the northeast and even Canada. Maple Weekend may be about promoting the product, but it’s still very much educational.

“We guarantee that we’ll have steam,” Randall said in describing what Maple Weekend is like at Randall’s Maple Products, "so the evaporator will be running. There are opportunities for people to taste, to sample, and to see old techniques. We’ll have an old cauldron kettle that was my great grandfather’s and a fire under that. It’s a fun event for all ages of people.”

The sugar house at the Alexander-based producer is scenic and people taking part in Maple Weekend can walk in the woods to see the tubes and buckets as well.

“No two sugar houses are the same anywhere," he said. "That’s where some of the mystique and the interest comes from that has grown over the years.”

Randall says to make sure to wear boots and dress appropriately for the weather. Maple Weekend runs this weekend and the next at two locations in Genesee County: Randall's Maple Products in Alexander and Sweet Dream Maple Farm in Corfu. Click this link for more info: http://www.mapleweekend.com/

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