After 25 years of in-person maple workshops and a trade show, the 2021 New York Winter Maple Conference has become the latest event to succumb to the COVID -19 virus. Also known as the Mid-Winter Maple Classic, the annual conference was scheduled to take place January 8 and 9, 2021 at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse.. It has now been officially cancelled. While plans were underway, the host venue became unavailable. The NY State Fairgrounds have been closed to all indoor events since the start of the pandemic. Early in October, state fair management advised state maple association officers that they expect the building closure to continue into 2021 and therefore the state fairgrounds could not be planned for as the location for the Winter Classic. We have explored other options, including a virtual conference, but the NYSMPA executive committee has concluded that there is no satisfactory substitute for the live event. NYSMPA President Tony VanGlad commented, “The Covid 19 pandemic has forced the NYSMPA board to make very hard decisions. Cancelling Maple Weekend was a toughie.” VanGlad went on to explain, “The Governor's order to stop large public gatherings, such as fairs, festivals, and even the NYS fair, has made it difficult for maple producers. Our Maple Classic host, the NYS fairgrounds, cannot host us this year. The NYSMPA board decided not to have the Maple Classic this year, to ensure safety for the country’s maple community.” VanGlad concluded with “Stay healthy and here's hoping for a great maple crop this season!"
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