The Saugeen Bluffs Maple Syrup Festival is pressing the pause button for 2018.
Saugeen Valley Conservation Foundation (SVCF) chair Catherine Dickison says it was a "very difficult" decision to defer the area's longest running Maple Syrup Festival -- which has been ongoing since 1969 -- but a number of factors led to the decision.
SVCF Manager of Communications Shannon Wood says the organization's tried everything from new attractions, demonstration and activities to spur more attendance in recent years, but to no avail.
She says the event has operated at a loss for the past two years, with poor weather and increased competition among similar festivals pointed to as major factors.
"We were counting and there's now seven maple syrup festivals in the area, and it used to be be only a few," says Wood. "There's only so much of the pie to go around, so to speak, (and) that makes it difficult from a visitors point of view."
The Saugeen Bluffs Maple Syrup Festival offered many demonstrations and attractions, including: sessions displaying Indigenous and modern production methods; horse drawn wagon rides; live shows; and various kids' activities.
A bus route between Paisley, Port Elgin and Southampton allowed easy access to the event.
As previously reported by Bayshore Broadcasting, Port Elgin plans to launch its own Maple Syrup Festival in 2018 which may help fill the void.
Wood says SVCF has tried to support the newly planned Port Elgin Festival as it prepares to launch for a first time.
Still, there's a chance the SVCF event could find new life in 2019.
"For 2018, we're just going to take a break, sit back and see what happens," Wood explains. "There may be something that comes up, you just never know. We didn't want to cancel it outright ... we're always open to ideas and certainly open to the suggestion that there may be a Maple Syrup Festival again in the future."