The Legend of the Magic Water
The Maple Festival would be incomplete without the colorful pageantry
and song of The Legend of the Magic Water, an extraordinary production
with a cast of more than 100 local people, from newborns to 80+ year-olds.
The Legend of the Magic Water tells the story of the discovery of
maple syrup and the history of Meyersdale through song, dance and
narration. Among the variousacts of this educational and entertaining
pageant are an Indian maple celebration, the life of the pioneer,
the day the first train came to Meyersdale and the first Festival.
The pageant has something for everyone - from an Indian attack to
a hoedown, a simple hymn to classic opera, can-can girls to a patriotic
grand finale. There are duos, trios, men's and women's choruses and
some of the cutest little show-stoppers around.
To many of our visitors, The Legend of the Magic Water is a must-see
returning year after year for this production from a community
of about 2,300 people.
The Legend in its present form was started in 1971 through the efforts
of Tess Rigal, who was serving as the Festival's executive secretary,
and James Davis, choral director at Meyersdale Area High School. However,
its beginnings go back to the very first festival in 1947.
For four years at the State Theater, area talent was showcased in
the "Annual Historical Pageant of the Somerset County Maple Festival."
Organized and directed by local school teachers Miss Anna Bolden and
Mrs. Ralph (Ruth) Rosenberger, this pageant dealt primarily with the
history of Somerset County. Not only was the cast comprised of citizens
from Meyersdale, but also other local communities as well. Each of
the communities was responsible for an episode, while county schools
sent their best musicians to play in the orchestra.
pageant was replaced in the early 1950's by a talent show of local
school students and adults. It, too, was held at the StateTheater
and was titled, "The Mapletown Variety Show," or "Saptown Slapstick."
In 1958, the Maple Queen and princesses shared the stage with area
residents in "Maple Sugarin' Time -- a Fun Historical Show in Four
Acts." The following year, and until 1970, only the queen and princesses
took center stage, displaying their talent numbers from the Maple
And so, with the re-establishment of a historical pageant in 1971,
we have come full circle. Children and grandchildren of those early
cast members are now the ones doing the entertaining, carrying on
the fine tradition of community involvement for which Meyersdale is
noted and honored.