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This year's UMFK "Sucrerie" to feature horse-drawn sleigh rides on campus quad

March 18, 2005


A new feature will be added to a sweet traditional spring-time celebration at the University of Maine at Fort Kent as a horse-drawn sleigh will provide students and community members enjoying the "Sucrerie" a ride around the campus quad.

UMFK will host its popular maple sugar celebration on campus Thursday, March 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Nowland Hall.

The event, which has drawn upwards of 300 community members to campus in year's past, is again open to the public and will feature the traditional maple sugar making demonstration, an Acadian buffet, maple taffy pull, and live musical entertainment.

For the first time in the seven years the campus has hosted the event, a new feature is being added to the mix.

Horse-drawn sleigh rides, provided by the Flat Mountain Horse Ranch in St. Agatha, will be offered to attendees at no charge.

"It is not uncommon to visit a 'Sucrerie' in Quebec and be offered the opportunity to take a sleigh ride through the woods to see how the trees are tapped and the maple sap is collected," said Jason Parent, UMFK director of university relations and a member of the event organizing committee. "When we sat down with members of the Student Senate and French Club to plan this event, it was their strong desire to add a new, yet appropriate twist to the event. The idea of adding sleigh rides was by far the most popular."

Organizers of the 'Sucrerie' are again working with Camille Theriault, UMFK building and grounds maintenance crew leader and Henry Carbone, a part-time UMFK faculty member who produces maple syrup as a hobby, to conduct a "taffy pull" on the snow.

The UMFK maple sugar day will include a traditional Acadian meal served at lunchtime in Nowland Hall. A nominal fee of $5 will be charged for the buffet meal only. The maple taffy demonstration and taste testing are free to the public.

On the menu for this year's 'Sucrerie' is popular local fare including soupe aux pois, chicken stew, salade de jardins, ployes, pot-en-pot, baked beans, carottes et navets, molasses cookies, and pudding chomeur.

"These dishes are favorites of many local community members and allow us to introduce local culinary delicacies to our students from around the world," said Jason Parent, UMFK's director of university relations and a member of the organizing committee

Serving the Acadian lunch will be staff volunteers from the UMFK campus community who will dress in Acadian costumes provided by the Greater Madawaska Chamber of Commerce.

'Sucrerie' organizers are also planning live entertainment. Organizing committee member James Maxwell, a member of UMFK's French Club, has arranged for popular St. John Valley fiddle player Lionel Doucette of Madawaska and two accompanists to perform several French Acadian musical pieces that are favorites of many residents in the St. John Valley.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the 'Sucrerie'.

Local school teachers interested in bringing their classes to the event should contact the university in advance to make arrangements.

For more information, contact the University Relations office at 834-7557.