“An explosion is set for Baldwin City.”
However, it’ll be in a good sense of the word as the Douglas County community’s population swells, seemingly almost like there’s been a detonation.
Coordinators are expecting attendance of nearly 40,000 people at this year’s Maple Leaf Festival.
While Baldwin City has about 4,000 residents, the 59th annual celebration this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21 and 22, could draw ten times that many folks to participate in the wide variety of activities scheduled.
“Of course, it depends on the weather,” planners admitted.
Starting in 1958, the Maple Leaf Festival began as a community event inspired by Dr. Ivan Boyd, a biology professor at Baker University.
Dr. Boyd noted that the third weekend of October was the optimum time to view the changing colors of the Maple tree leaves in the area, and the perfect time to celebrate the successful harvest.
That’s when the Maple Leaf Festival began, and the celebration has continued, and been growing ever since.
Now, there’s something for everybody going on in the jam-filled schedule, kicking off Friday with a full carnival.
Carnival attractions continue on Saturday and Sunday, yet there are so many more features that it’s almost impossible to favor one over another.
Arts and crafts booths are open both days downtown, and at the grade school, with free country music being played on a regular schedule.
More than 300 exhibits including about two dozen food vendors providing a variety of delights are already planning to participate.
Always a major attraction is the Quilt Show at the Baldwin Intermediate Center, west of town on Highway 56.
Of course, the parade Saturday morning has to be a festival highlight, with the kiddie parade kicking off at 10:45.
Everybody is welcome to come participate, but no candy or treats can be distributed from entries.
There’ll be a 5K-Run Saturday morning at the golf course. Historical tours of the Baldwin City area are to feature the Black Jack Battlefield and cabin.
Midland Railway plans train rides from the historic Santa Fe Depot on West High Street all three days.
Many high school graduating classes plan their reunions this weekend, so it’s traditionally a homecoming event as well.
Sunday will feature gospel music in the Music Tent. A non-competitive fitness walking has been scheduled from 10 o’clock to 4:30.
This is a volunteer, non-profit activity. The committee meets throughout the year getting organized, and then it all comes together with everybody helping.
A successful festival allows the committee to fund scholarships, support local charities and community organizations.
Details are available at www.mapleleaffestival.com.