THURMAN - Ecological tourism is apparently thriving here.
Maple producers in town said Sunday night they enjoyed the largest crowds ever for the annual Thurman Maple Days, held this past weekend along the winding mountainside byways in town.
A featured spring event here for the last four years or so, maple producers give tours of their sugarhouses, explain maple syrup production, and offer breakfasts which include their home-grown syrup atop pancakes.
Marc Kenyon of Adirondack Gold Maple Farm, who gave tours of his operation with his wife Cheryl, said the public turnout over the two-day event was the best ever, whether it was for a local or state-sponsored maple festival.
"It was an incredible weekend," he said. "We had a huge crowd of people - definitely the most that have ever visited for a Maple Weekend."
Mike Hill, who operates Valley Road Maple Farm with Ralph Senecal, agreed Sunday evening that the attendance was the best ever.
"We were so busy - now I'm so tired I can't see straight," he said.
Hill served up pancakes Saturday and Sunday for more than 300 people eating breakfast in his sugarhouse - in addition to giving tours and explaining production techniques.
Randy Galusha of Toad Hill Maple Farm on Charles Olds Road also said he and his wife Jill hosted a record crowd.
"We had an absolutely fantastic turnout," Galusha said, estimating that 400 to 500 people visited his sugarhouse. "We had the largest turnout by far of any Maple Weekend."
Kenyon said the publicity brought out a mix of people from all over the Capital Region as well as local folks.
All ages attended, and Kenyon was a particular hit with the children, Thurman Supervisor Red Pitkin said.
"Mark puts on a great show telling kids about old-time sugaring," Pitkin said. "He's been doing it a long time."