Nearly 400 hungry area residents show up for Maple Syrup Fest pancake feed in Vergas

Though two of the major events scheduled for Vergas's Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday, April 1 were canceled due to icy roads, the pancake and sausage feed went off without a hitch.

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Nearly 400 paid attendees lined up for a plate of pancakes, sausage and pure maple syrup at Vergas's Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday, April 1, 2023.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

VERGAS — The Maple Syrup Festival in Vergas is an early-spring tradition that typically brings out between 600-700 area residents to enjoy a pancake and sausage feed, 5K run/walk and horse-drawn wagon rides.

Unfortunately, icy roads on Saturday, April 1, meant that two of those three events — the 5K run/walk and the wagon rides — were canceled.

By special request, some attendees at Saturday's Maple Syrup Festival in Vergas received pancakes with mouse ears.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"We didn't want anyone getting hurt," explained Vergas Mayor Julie Bruhn, who was also the co-chair of this year's festival.

The paid attendance at the pancake and sausage feed, which was held on Saturday as scheduled, undoubtedly took a hit because of those aforementioned icy roads, as well as the canceled events.

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Nearly 400 people filled up the table at the Vergas Event Center on Saturday, April 1, 2023, for the community's annual Maple Syrup Festival. Attendance was down a bit from last year, due to icy road conditions that also caused some of the festival's popular events, such as the 5K run/walk and horse-drawn wagon rides, to be canceled.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"We served 386 at the Maple Fest pancake breakfast," Bruhn said. "This is down from 662 the prior year. Factors for lower attendance may have included a combination of weather, weekend people not yet coming to the area due to snow, and no 5K run."


Nevertheless, Bruhn added, the organizers were quite pleased with how many people did show up to enjoy the breakfast of pure, locally produced maple syrup, freshly made pancakes and Polish sausage, served up by Vergas Lions Club members.

The annual festival is co-sponsored by the Lions and the Vergas Community Club, of which Bruhn is a member.

The Community Club was also gearing up to host its first-ever Polka Dance Party , featuring the Chmielewski Funtime Band , which is set for Sunday, April 16 at the Vergas Event Center (140 W. Linden St.). The band will be playing a host of traditional polka favorites from 1 to 4 p.m., and there will also be free popcorn (courtesy of Ditterich Mercantile) and a cash bar (courtesy of Spanky's Stone Hearth). Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 16 and under.

Meanwhile, over at Maplewood State Park, sunny skies produced a good crowd for the Friends of Maplewood's annual Maple Syrup Demonstration Day. Attendees learned how maple syrup is made at the park's "Sugar Shack," and then enjoyed some tasty maple-flavored treats.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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