GORHAM — There were long lines of people waiting for pancakes at the Merrifield Farm on Sunday.

Really long lines.

After the pandemic shut down the annual Maine Maple Sunday events for two years, people were happy to get out to enjoy pancakes dripping with maple syrup, to buy some syrup to take home, and to meet up with family and friends.

“It’s great,” Ashley Fox of Yarmouth said of the crowd. It seems “the whole state is here.”

More than 100 sugarhouses opened their doors statewide on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the half-million gallons of maple syrup produced in Maine every year. In the United States, only two states – Vermont and New York – produce more syrup than Maine.

At the Merrifield Farm, owner Lyle Merrifield estimated that more than 6,000 people came to the farm this weekend.


“We probably had a record day yesterday,” he said Sunday, estimating that 3,000 people had shown up. Sunday’s crowd was likely to be even bigger, he said, adding that the weather made it a beautiful day to be outside.

“This is the first time we’ve been open for two years,” Merrifield said. “People are feeling comfortable with COVID. People have gotten their shots. The numbers (of COVID-19 cases) are down. Whatever we’re doing across the state is working.”

Inside the farmhouse, 10 people worked the line with pancakes, sausages and maple baked beans.

Lynn Merrifield makes pancakes for the Maine Maple Weekend event at Merrifield Farm on Sunday. The farm is owned by Merrifield’s brother, and he said he’s been helping out by manning the pancake griddle for many years. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Veteran pancake chef Lynn Merrifield flipped pancakes.

The secret to making good pancakes “is good help, and blueberries,” said Lynn, the brother of Lyle Merrifield. Other family members filled breakfast orders and ran them outside to picnic tables with waiting hungry customers.

“It’s delicious,” said Brian Fox, Ashley’s husband, as he and 19-month-old son Bennett ate blueberry pancakes and sausages. “Just the right amount of maple.”


Zack Moody and Monica Grover of Steep Falls were waiting for pancakes a good half-hour, but they didn’t mind the wait, Grover said. “We love everything maple syrup and sugar.”

“I love food. I love breakfast food. I love maple syrup,” Moody said with a smile.

Cory and Becky Abrams of Casco came for maple syrup and to get outside. He joked about walking a few miles from where they parked.

So many people drove to the sugarhouse, the North Gorham Road was choked with parked vehicles. For more than a half-mile, vehicles were parked on both sides of the country road. Three men directed traffic.

“We’ve been cooped up,” said Cory Abrams. “We’re getting out to socialize. Getting a little back to normal.”

Gov. Janet Mills and Amanda Beal, Maine’s commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, toured the Goranson Farm and sugarhouse in Dresden. Mills expressed her appreciation for those who make “world-class” maple products.

In Sebago, home of the oldest Maine Maple Sunday pancake feeds, there was a banner turnout on Sunday, said organizer Phil Strike. Not having the traditional breakfast for two years, “people were itching to get this going again,” he said.

The pancake breakfast is a benefit for the Sebago Community Fire Company, which is a nonprofit organization that supports the Sebago Fire Department, said Strike, the town’s fire chief.

Normally 350 to 400 people attend their Maine Maple Sunday breakfast, he said. “This year we had 425 here,” Strike said. “People were ecstatic to be here. It was a great day.”

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