Bellbrook’s Sugar Maple Festival returns after 2-year hiatus: What it was like

BELLBROOK — Following a bout of cold temperatures, attendees to Bellbrook’s Sugar Maple Festival on Saturday enjoyed sunny skies and 80-degree weather for the return of the event after a two-year pause due to COVID-19.

“It’s the perfect day,” said Emma Brake of Springboro, who attended with her five children.

“The kids are having a great time. They especially loved the marching band during the parade, the batons, and the Scottish dancers.”

Along with the parade, which kicked off Saturday’s festivities, vendor tents filled the Bellbrook Park and food trucks were lined up along a stretch of North Main Street, offering typical fair foods. In the evening, festival-goers could visit the beer garden.

Janis Stratis, trustee for the Bellbrook Museum, was in front of the museum to offer “Yellow Brick Road” commemorative bricks, which are placed in the sidewalk outside the building. Funds from the brick sales go toward museum upkeep.

Stratis said she was happy to welcome the festival back after the COVID-19 hiatus.

“It really is good for the community,” she said. “With everything going on in the world, it’s just nice to have a hometown gathering and see people out and about. It’s just great.”

Brake, who is new to the area, said she loves Bellbrook’s “small town feel” and noted the return of a sense of normalcy as pandemic restrictions ease.

“After two years of things being closed down and everything being different, just seeing everyone’s smiling faces is so wonderful,” she said. “Everybody being a community and not scared of each other ... I’m really thankful.”

Jodi Martin, executive director of the Bellbrook Sugarcreek Area Chamber of Commerce, echoed these sentiments. Martin set up a tent in the Bellbrook Park, offering popcorn, water and chamber information to festival attendees.

“I think everyone was really happy the festival was happening this year,” Martin said. “It’s a huge staple in our community.

“I like to see people happy and smiling, and you’re getting that today.”

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