Arnie and Merrie first helped in maple syrup production when the Shepherd Sugar Bush workers tapped a maple woods in their neighborhood west of Shepherd. Arnie was soon trained by the dedicated Sugar Bush crew in all aspects of syrup production from helping to tap the trees to canning the syrup. He is proud of the improvements the Sugar Bush Corporation has made over the past fifteen years; first building a storage addition on to the existing Sugar Bush and then the most recent construction, housing the new evaporator in a new Sugar Bush building. On Festival Weekend, you are most likely to find him at the Sugar Bush explaining the history and the process of syrup making in Shepherd to visitors to the village. He also serves as the treasurer of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association.
Serving pancakes in the High School cafeteria first brought Merrie to Festival activities when the couple moved to the Shepherd area in the ‘70s. She found it a good way to make friends in a new community and also enjoyed serving and chatting with the many out-of-town visitors. Frances Adams, Pat Rhynard, Bessie Musser, and Vivian Jerome were long-time kitchen organizers who drafted apprentices to learn their jobs and
Merrie became more involved in the cafeteria service. She can usually be found somewhere in the cafeteria on Festival week-end, doing anything from replenishing supplies to dumping wastebaskets!
Arnie and Merrie, both math teachers (Arnie is recently retired from CMU, Merrie is at Shepherd High School), are the parents of Laurie, a Department of Defense employee who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and Carey, a recent graduate of Central Michigan University. Both children enjoyed summer recreation in Shepherd and the Hammels feel it is important that this opportunity continues to be available to today’s youth and are
glad to be part of the community effort to make it so.