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MAPLE FESTIVAL UNCORKS SYRUP SATURDAY

The season has moved beyond sap running, sap gathering and sap boiling.

The fruits of that labor are stored in a special place at Franklinville Elementary School, awaiting the 7:30 a.m. breakfast bell Saturday in the cafeteria and a pile of steaming pancakes served up at the 43rd annual Western New York Maple Festival.

Pancakes, sausage and maple syrup will be available until 3:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and some lucky festivalgoers may be served by the wholesome Maple Festival king and queen, who will be chosen from 12 Franklinville Central High School seniors in a competition beginning at 8 p.m. tonight in the High School Auditorium.

Once chosen, the pair will reign over all the festival's official functions, whatever the weather, gulping down ham and leeks at noon Saturday in the Fire Hall after a ride up Main Street in a convertible during the 11 a.m. parade.

Coinciding with the festival is the GRO Downtown Franklinville celebration. Traffic around the north and east sides of the village's historic circular Park Square will be blocked for the weekend beginning with the Maple Festival Parade.

The merchants' two-day celebration of "Growth, Revitalization and Opportunity" will feature free Saturday musical entertainment by Joe Wagner from noon to 3 p.m. and the Allegheny River Band from 3 to 4:30 p.m. DeLynns' Gallery will be open Saturday and Sunday and will be host to a second-anniversary show for new artists from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Tammy Maxson's reading from her children's book, "Grandpa's Maple Syrup" beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Chainsaw artist and wood sculptor Frank Russell will give demonstrations under a tent from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department paddy wagon will jail volunteers to raise funds for Relay for Life. Children will receive free helium balloons and face painting will also be provided.

On Sunday, Boy Scout activities, wool spinning and a petting zoo will take over the Park Square area.

The 2005 crop of maple syrup will be sold in front of the grade school.

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