PORTLAND — The coronavirus pandemic canceled Maine’s annual spring celebration of maple syrup, but the event will finally take place this fall.

Maine Maple Sunday was scheduled to take place in March, when the pandemic was intensifying around the country. That led to the cancellation of the event, which was one of the first large events in Maine to be scuttled by concerns about the virus.

Jo-Ann Merrifield arranges bottles of maple syrup in her Gotham sugar house in March. The coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of Maine Maple Sunday this year, for the first time in its 37-year history. The event has been rescheduled for October. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The Maine Maple Producers Association said Wednesday the event will take place Oct. 9 to 11. The association said the weekend will include virtual elements as well as traditional in-person visits to the state’s sugar houses.

Maine is the third largest maple producer in the country, after Vermont and New York. Maple association president Scott Dunn said the industry has taken a hit from the pandemic.

“There is no doubt, the pandemic has hit our producers really hard,” Dunn said. “While the weekend of activities might look and feel a little different, we are confident we can provide the opportunity for people to safely celebrate pure Maine maple and support local producers.”

Holding the maple weekend in the fall will change the complexion of the event somewhat. Maine Maple Sunday typically takes place during a time of the year when sap buckets are a common sight on maple trees around the state. Fall harvest festivals in Maine tend to be more about apples or pumpkins than syrup.

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