Correspondent Mark Shephard visited Wakarusa this week and asked, "The hot topic this year for the Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival is that Sunday has been added as a third day for the first time in its 45-year history. How do you feel about this and how do you think people will respond?"
Bonnie Hess, director of advertising, Elkhart:
"I think adding a third day is a really good idea. I think it’s good for the community." Follow-up question: There are a lot of religious people in the community. How do you think they’ll feel about having the festival on Sunday? "I don’t think it’s a problem because it’s a festival, it’s a day of celebration, I don’t think it’s going to harbor — if you will — any religious factors. We go to church on Sundays, but we also have yard sales and celebrate. It’s a family event, so I feel that it’s acceptable."
Lizzie Kern, waitress, Wakarusa:
"I feel like it will draw more attention to our town, which will bring more people in, and I think they’re planning on having a church service, which will draw in some of the local people, and people from out of town just to visit Wakarusa."
Eli Detweiler, retired factory worker, Wakarusa:
"It doesn’t matter to me. I guess it’s all right, it will give the people something to do, and if they don’t want to come, they don’t have to. I’ve been here since 1957. It’s a nice little town to live in. My wife and I are the ones that helped do this when it first started up, and we’ve been around here ever since they’ve had it." Follow-up question: What do you think people enjoy most about the festival?" It’s hard to say. It gives people the chance to get out. The last four or five years we’ve had it, it hasn’t been very nice, and I think it’s supposed to be pretty nice this weekend, and I think they’re going to have a big turnout."
Hal Farmwald, design studio project manager, Wakarusa:
"I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. It’s going to bring people into the community, bring dollars into the community. This is a community that does have a background as being a fairly religious community, and I think there’s at least some opposition based on that fact, but overall for me I think it’s probably a good thing."
Mac McNally, Wakarusa Dime Store owner, Wakarusa:
"Well, I think that having the festival run on Sunday is fine. I don’t know of any other festivals in the area that don’t run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I think it’s about time that we do it all three days for the complete weekend. It will be an opportunity for more people to get to the festival. Everybody isn’t off on Saturday. So if their only day off is Sunday, that will give them an opportunity to participate." Follow-up question: How would you say just the festival itself has changed the community and your business? "I don’t know how it has changed the community. I think it raises the awareness of Wakarusa, and what goes on in Wakarusa. You never have the kind of traffic in this town, or the amount of people in it other when the festival is on."