WHITETOP, Va. - Spring is finally here, and one sure sign of the change in season is the annual Maple Festival high on top of Whitetop this weekend.
It's a fundraising event for the Mount Rogers Rescue Squad and Fire Department, and it draws thousands of people up to the mountains. It's all about the weather when you're tapping trees for maple syrup.
Just over a thousand pounds of sausage patties have arrived at the Mount Rogers Fire Department to feed about 2,000 for the annual Maple Festival.
So named because the department members tap the trees and make maple syrup from the sweet water that rises from the maple trees.
For a maximum harvest it takes warm days and cold nights, but this year its been a little different up on the mountain where the trees are tapped. "This year we got started late because of all the cold weather and this first of March, so we didn't get to start early this time," Buryl Greer of the department says.
"Snow kept us of out it a bunch, but we did finally get in there and get it taken care of," deparment member Ralph Norris adds.
Down at the sugar house where all of the syrup making takes place, they've keep each tally on how much is made. "So far we've made 159 gallons and we're still making it," Greer said.
This syrup and the breakfast served all day, music and crafts make up the annual festival, a major fundraiser for the Mount Rogers Fire Department and Rescue Squad. "It buys our fuel and everything so we can operate the rescue squad and fire department. Iit takes a lot of money to operate on nowadays," Norris said.
But people come from miles away to just to get some of take original Whitetop Mountain Maple Syrup and to have a little old-fashioned food and fun.