Crowds flock to Baldwin City for 2019 Maple Leaf Festival

photo by: Sarah Baker

A banner marks the entrance to the Maple Leaf Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Baldwin City.

A Maple Leaf Festival regular, Sheryl Cleverley shouted sound advice at about 11 a.m. to the still-spotty crowd in downtown Baldwin City.

“Get your funnel cakes now while there’s no line,” she yelled from the Baldwin City Lions Club concession trailer, parked as always near the Eighth and High street intersection for the festival. “If you wait until after the parade, you’ll have to stand in line.”

Cleverley, who has volunteered for the Lions Club booth since 1995, proved correct. After the hourlong parade ended, a 50-foot-long line formed from the Lions Club stand across Eighth Street, intersecting with an even longer line of customers waiting to order turkey legs from the booth of Baker University’s Kappa Sigma fraternity.

The crowd kept building throughout the early afternoon for the festival, which organizers say draws tens of thousands of people each year to Baldwin City.

“The crowd looks about normal for a nice festival day,” said Donna Curran, Maple Leaf Festival vendor booth chair.

Aside from a few morning sprinkles, the weather cooperated for Saturday’s festivities, with afternoon highs in the 60s and little wind to cause concern for the more than 400 canvas booths set up on Baldwin City’s streets.

photo by: Elvyn Jones

Esther McClure, of Ottawa, inspects rings at a booth Saturday, Oct. 20, 2019, at the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin City. The two-day festival features more than 400 booths offering crafts and food.

The many booths at the festival offered a challenge for Rebekah Gibson, of Olathe, as she surveyed the downtown streets while her husband and two children were enjoying carnival rides.

“I’m a shopper,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to buy, but I’m going to shop and I am going to get something to eat. My husband’s a shopper, too, so we’ll have fun today.”

Nearby, Esther McClure, of Ottawa, was taking a photo of a ring for sale at another booth. 


“I bought two of the rings for myself and buying one for a friend,” she said. “They are so cool. They are made from antique forks, spoons and knives.”

McClure said she used to have her own jewelry booth at the festival, but now she just goes to Maple Leaf to enjoy a fall day out and see what crafters others are offering.

“I’ve bought the rings and scented candles,” she said. “I’d better stop.”

Vendor Dini Rodriguez, who had come from Edgerton to sell her toy trains, trucks and airplanes, said the crowds definitely kept her busy.

“I do about five shows a year, but this is the best and the biggest,” she said.

The Maple Leaf Festival will continue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

photo by: Sarah Baker

Cooks work at a booth at Sixth and High streets in Baldwin City during the Maple Leaf Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

photo by: Sarah Baker

A vendor prepares roasted nuts at the Maple Leaf Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Baldwin City.

photo by: Sarah Baker

Parade announcers Doug Cheek and Leigh Anne Bathke speak at the Maple Leaf Festival parade on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Baldwin City.

photo by: Sarah Baker

Crowds line Sixth Street in Baldwin City before the Maple Leaf Festival parade on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

photo by: Sarah Baker

Members of the local Boy Scout troop hand out candy during the Maple Leaf Festival parade on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Baldwin City.

photo by: Sarah Baker

Parade participants hand out candy to children during the Maple Leaf Festival parade Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 in Baldwin City.

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