CASTLETON–The 63rd annual Shrine football match will kick off on Aug. 6 at 5:30 p.m. on Castleton University’s Spartan Field, preceded by a spectacular Shriners’ parade, starting on Main Street in Castleton at 3 p.m., then turning onto South Street and passing by the football stadium. The parade will feature Shrine units from around the Northeast with a display of miniature vehicles, motorcycle groups and bands. Plenty of parking is available on campus and along Main Street. For the eleventh year the parade and halftime show will also feature an all-star high school band of talented musicians from schools throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.
Then football teams comprised of Class of 2016 high school graduates from Vermont and New Hampshire will contend for the winning goal in this very popular annual event. Head coaches this year are Brian Grady of the Fair Haven Union H.S. Slaters and Justin Leonard, head coach of the Epping/Newmarket Blue Devils high school football team. The net proceeds of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl go to support three regional hospitals: the Shriners’ orthopedic hospitals for children in Springfield, Mass., and Montreal, and the world-renowned Boston Burns Institute in Boston, Mass.
The Shrine Game king and queen are two children who have received long-term treatment at a Shriners’ hospital. Queen Giavanna Schembri, 7, of Hanover, N.H., has been a patient at the Shriners’ Hospital in Springfield since before birth. Nine-year-old King Justin Demars was treated in Boston for severe burns sustained as a toddler and has made a full recovery.
The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is sponsored by Cairo Shriners of Rutland and Mt. Sinai Shriners of Montpelier. Castleton University has hosted the training camp for the past three years and this year has stepped up for the second time to host the game. Both teams are currently training at Castleton until Aug. 5.
Apart from one half-time staffer and a part-time “summer assistant,” the coaches, officials and Shriners donate their time and support for this exciting and worthy event, according to the event website, maplesugarbowl.com.
This year is rumored to be a wide-open offensive contest and is a great opportunity for fans to see a great game at the university campus.
Tickets are $10 for Shriners, $12 advance purchase, and $15 on game day. For more information visit maplesugarbowl.com.