Maple Leaf Weekend Guide 2023

October 11, 2023


Welcome to Baldwin City, Maple Leaf Festival edition!

It’s that time of year when small town Americana wraps itself around Baldwin City in a cozy embrace of all things autumnal and traditional, promising us all we’ll survive the winter. If you’re visiting Baldwin for the Maple Leaf Festival for the first time — or if you’ve lived here since it all began 66 years ago — we hope this guide will help you enjoy the festival just a bit more.

We do expect this year’s festival to bring a lot of folks to town, so definitely plan to spend a few hours and take your time. Soak up the October weather and have patience with those around you. Remember that the tram drivers, food booth vendors, Festival committee workers, and more are all volunteers. They don’t do this for a living, and they don’t do it every day. Please be patient.

For a town of less than 5,000 year round inhabitants, an influx of tens of thousands in a single weekend is a bit overwhelming. Please don’t walk or park in anyone’s yard unless they’re specifically allowing parking with signs. Don’t park in front of driveways or alleyways, and please pay attention to the one way street signs. They’re only for the weekend, but they do help prevent snarled traffic and potential accidents. 

There is no fee to enter the festival, watch the parade, listen to music, or visit the 50th Annual Quilt Show. Expect food to cost more than you would pay at McDonald’s but less than you would pay at Disney. There is no fee to enter the children’s area, but some things do have a fee, like gem mining and feeding the animals. 

No Pets.

Reminder, one more time: Pets are not allowed at the Festival due to City Ordinance. If you have a service animal with documentation, you’re welcome to bring them. To quote one of the Festival Committee leaders, “Service animals are welcome. The no pets ordinance was put in place for non-service animals due to a child being mauled at the festival many years ago. Some times animals that have not been trained to be in crowded areas can become aggressive. It’s not their fault, but happens because they have not been in the situation before. The ordinance is just to prevent another incident such as that. Service animals are trained to be in a crowded environment such as Maple Leaf, and so they are welcome.”

Where to Park.

Parking is available with shuttle bus accommodations from the High School, Junior High, and Elementary School parking lots. Donations are requested in most places to support local nonprofit organizations, and some residents do allow parking in their yards for a requested fee. There is handicapped parking available with placards close to the Festival in designated areas. Check the Google map here for more details, or download a printable map here.

Bouncy House/Carnival.

There is no Carnival or Bouncy House this year. 

Getting Around. 

Here’s a Google map that you can open on your phone and navigate around town, whether you’re driving or walking. The parade route, transit routes for bus shuttles and trams, and amenities like bathrooms, diaper changing station, and ATMs are all labeled. Download and print a map here, or grab one from the information booth located at the corner of 8th and High once you’ve parked and arrived downtown.

Schedule.

Vendor booths open at 9am. The parade is at 11am on Saturday, with the Children’s Parade beginning at 10:45am marching from the library to meet the rest of the parade at 6th and High. The old city power plant is open on High Street from 10am-2pm, and the Quilt Show is open from 9am-6pm up at the Baldwin Intermediate Center, located at 100 Bullpen Drive.

Emergency Services and Lost & Found.

Should you need to contact the police, there is a walk-in headquarters located at City Hall. The address is 803 8th Street. For first aid needs, inquire at the Festival headquarters located at 705 High Street. As always, dial 911 in an emergency. If you lose something or find something, you may turn it in or search for it at either Maple Leaf Committee Headquarters or at the temporary Police Department Headquarters.

Most of all, we want you to have a blast and spend quality time with friends and family. Stop in at the Lumberyard Arts Center at 718 High Street before you go and check out the Maple Leaf History Exhibit in the gallery!