Port Elgin BIA Takes Over Saugeen Bluffs Syrup Festival

After 46 years, the Saugeen Bluffs Maple Syrup Festival is changing hands and location.

The Saugeen Valley Conservation Foundation has announced it will not host the 2018 event at Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area near Paisley, citing financial hardship as the primary reason.

Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority Chair Luke Charbonneau says the event has been handed over to the Port Elgin B.I.A., who will move the festival to downtown Port Elgin next spring.

Despite efforts in recent years to reinvigorate the festival, he says it no longer makes sense to continue the festival in its current form.

“The expenses are high, and the attendance just isn’t what it used to be and it got to the point where they were losing money, they lost money in 2017, and that’s not sustainable,” says Charbonneau. “The conservation foundation isn’t there to lose money, they’re there to raise money for conservation projects and they do a great job.”

Charbonneau says they did not want the festival to simply disappear and sought out ways to keep it alive.

“Luckily, we found a great opportunity to do that, partnering with the Port Elgin B.I.A., I know it’s a change, but I think it’s an exciting change,” says Charbonneau. “Hopefully, they can make a go of it and put on a great event in downtown Port Elgin. I’m sure they will, given their track record.”

Charbonneau says it’s far too early in the planning process to know what sort of changes the Port Elgin B.I.A. has in store for the maple syrup festival.