MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Vermont Gov. James B. Douglas will tap the season’s first maple tree in a ceremony held on Friday, March 6, at 11 a.m., at Middlebury College.

Hosted by the Addison County Sugar Makers Association, the tree-tapping event will take place in front of Mead Chapel, and the public is cordially invited to attend.

At 10 a.m., the county’s maple syrup producers will begin serving free maple cotton candy, maple cream, maple pops, and maple-syrup-on-snow from their festive “mobile sugar shack” to commemorate the unofficial opening of the state’s sugar making season.

The sugar shack will be set up on Hepburn Road which is located behind Mead Chapel and just to the south of Route 125 (College Street) in Middlebury.

Then at 11 a.m., the governor will tap a large sugar maple (acer sacrum) and say a few words to mark the start of the maple syrup season. It is traditional in Vermont for the governor to tap the “first maple” in early March. The ceremony takes place in a different county each year, and in 2009 it is Addison County’s turn to host the event.

A Middlebury resident and Middlebury College graduate, Governor Douglas said this week that he hopes the sap will flow on Friday, noting that has been the case five out of the last six years. The National Weather Service forecast for Friday morning calls for temperatures in the high 30’s, so there is a good possibility that the sap will run.