Maple in every form is a family specialty at Field Days Sugarhouse

FIELD DAYS SUGARHOUSE manager Andrew Rainville runs the cash register while Moe Rheaume cooks up maple treats in the kitchen. Independent photo/Nora Peachin

DOUGHNUTS FROM MIDDLEBURY Bagel topped with maple frosting are one of the many treats available to fairgoers at the Field Days sugarhouse. Independent photo/Nora Peachin

MAPLE LEAF-SHAPED candies are on display at the Field Days sugarhouse. Independent photo/Nora Peachin

The sweet smell of maple syrup wafting across the fairground draws people from all over to the Addison County Maple Sugarmakers’ sugarhouse, where Andrew Rainville is tempting customers with maple cotton candy, cookies, milk, doughnuts, bread, creemees, slushies and, his personal favorite, maple milkshakes.

Rainville’s connection to the drink comes from his first years working the Field Days sugarhouse. Back then, Andrew’s aunt, Barbara Rainville, managed the exhibit. Andrew helped her for five or six years, scooping and preparing milkshakes.

After 10 years in charge, Barbara passed her role on to Andrew. The exhibit continues to be a family affair. “My mom, dad, brother, aunt, grandmother, grandfather and cousin are all helping out this year,” Adam Rainville said.

Rainville has strong roots in Addison County. He has lived in the same house in Lincoln his whole life, and has been attending the county fair since he was a little kid. “I remember the building when the cotton candy machine was over there,” he reminisced, pointing to the corner opposite from the machine, “and when there was no creemee machine.”

“I used to come in for cotton candy on my way to watch the tractor pull. Now, it’s my whole fair experience,” he continued.

Rainville enjoys his work.

“I love seeing the regulars come in for coffee and doughnuts in the morning, and then return for a creemee at the end of the day,” he said.

“It’s a lot of work,” he added. Preparation begins as early as January or February, getting licenses in order. Then, “the work really starts in June.” But Rainville has no intention of stopping anytime soon. Although he loves the sweet stuff, by the end of the week, he says he always “need(s) a maple detox.”

— Nora Peachin

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