A delicious tradition has returned to Waterloo region.

The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival was back in full swing Saturday for the first time since 2019.

Tens of thousands of people came to the Woolwich Township community, packed the streets, and checked out a number of vendors.

"It's very much a comforting feeling to be back here," said Matt Jessop, the chair of the festival committee. "A lot of work has gone in to put this festival on this year."

The largest crowd in the festival's 59 year history was 80,000 people back in 2008.

"I think we'd be safely at 70,000 [this year]," said Jessop. "Maybe more.

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"It's been a beautiful morning, the crowds have been fantastic, it's looking like it's been a very good year so far, and overall I think we're happy."

In terms of weather, vendors say Mother Nature also played a part in making a good product for 2023.

"This year, our syrup season is one of a kind," said Graham Snyder, the owner of Snyder Acres. "The quality on everybody's syrup is going to be above what they usually produce because of the cool temperatures."

Snyder Acres was given the producer of the year award, which means their syrup will be served on festival pancakes next year.

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"We've had people coming to buy syrup just because we've won this award," said Snyder. "It's been great."

Another big draw at the festival this year has been maple syrup taffy being made in Gore Park, where syrup is boiled down, frozen, and then wound onto a stick.

"We're the only people that actually show the maple syrup production, give people a chance to see what's going on," said Steve Bisbee of the Elmira Optimists Club. "We have fires going. We have cauldrons bubbling.

"Everybody comes and they continually come back year after year."

The event is already in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest one-day maple syrup festival, but organizers say they will be getting an exact count of attendees to determine if the Saturday turnout is another record breaker.