West Virginia's festival season is officially upon us, with the 30th annual Maple Syrup Festival wrapping up in Pickens on Sunday. After three decades, it's still something that both vendors and patrons look forward to every year.
"It's the first event of the year, and I take in a lot of the festivals, let me put it that way," said Dana Johnson of Braxton County, who came out for the festival.
"It's totally amazing. You come to the middle of absolute nowhere - the paved road ends in this town - and yesterday, beautiful day, it was packed," said vendor Harlan Hanson.
Hanson has been selling kettle corn on Pickens' Main Street during the festival for the last 15 years. He said it's the perfect place to set up shop and get business rolling.
"It's kind of the start of our season. We do have a couple of winter shows, but now, this is actually good weather, supposedly. Hard to believe when you get in here and see how many families and houses there are around, and then these people come from, I don't know where," said Hanson.
Those people include Bill Krober, who came all the way from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania to enjoy some maple syrup and buckwheat cakes.
"I'm with my son right here, and last year, we went to Ontario for a maple festival. This week, we're down here. Next week, we're going to Somerset, Pennsylvania," said Krober.
This year's festival included numerous book signings, crafters, a woodchopping exhibition, but for organizer Debby Morgan, it's about more than just maple syrup.
"It's very dear to my heart because I'm from Pickens, born and raised here. It takes everybody that ever lived here to come back and bring their families. I, myself, have watched families grow up here. Not just the families that lived here, but the people that come to the festivals," said Morgan.