Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival recognized with tourism award


The view down the street as spectators and staff alike prepare for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival parade in this April 25, 2021, file photo.

On Oct. 10, the Mount Pleasant Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (MPACVB) announced the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Committee received the Meet Mt. Pleasant Tourism Award. The bureau held a banquet Oct. 11 at the Comfort Inn Conference Center honoring volunteers of the festival.

“We are thankful to have people who give back to our community and the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival volunteers have been doing so for many years," said Chris Rowley, executive director of the MPACVB.

The Shepard Maple Syrup Festival began in 1958 as sugar bushes in the area were tapped and sap was collected from them. A community-wide pancake dinner soon followed, and 60 years later the tradition continues. The festival eventually evolved into a three-day-long affair serving over 9,000 meals.

The festival is held the last weekend of April and draws in locals and visitors to enjoy such activities and attractions as a 5K walk/run, the Central Michigan Area concert band, a children’s village, a classic car and truck shows, a 4-H petting zoo, tractor pull, pancake eating contest, helicopter rides, horse pull and parade. Proceeds from the festival go to support recreational activities and facilities in the community. 

Partnerships with Shepherd Public Schools, the Village of Shepherd and dedicated residents make the festival as sweet as it is, Rowley said.

The Mt. Pleasant Area CVB is a nonprofit destination marketing and management organization for Mt. Pleasant and Isabella County. Founded in 1988, the mission of the CVB is to market and develop the city and county brand to target overnight visitors for economic growth and quality of life.