Marathon celebrates more than maple

By Kelly McCarthy

April 12, 2013 Updated Apr 13, 2013 at 1:10 AM EDT

Marathon, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Each year thousands meet to celebrate all things maple and sweet at The Central New York Maple Festival.

The Maple Fest usually draws more than 10,000 people during a two-day period each year. The festival kicks off its 43rd year Saturday in Marathon with plenty of food, entertainment, and of course, maple syrup samples around town.

The upcoming Maple Festival means more to the families in Marathon than just sweet sugary snacks.

"Like you said, it's a family tradition," John Robinson said. "My father started in 1971, the first year of the festival."

John Robinson hosts a wood cutting demonstration like his father once did. It's their 43rd year at the Maple Fest and their act still draws a big crowd.

"Some of the older ones remember seeing them when they were using them. Some of the younger ones are just intrigued by it," Robinson said.

Friday, families were setting up tents and attractions for the big weekend, like a wood cutting demonstration.

A lot of vendors will be at Marathon Central High School, where they get extra help from students.

"They're earning credits toward their senior trip," said Rebecca Stone, the superintendent of the Marathon City School District. "So any time they work in anything that has to deal with the Maple Festival in their class, they're earning points or dollars toward their senior trip."

The Spud Shack is one vendor that participates in the festival.

"We raise a lot of money through this event and festival and the kids working so at the end they can get to wherever their senior trip is," said James Bell, the owner of Spud Shack.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.