Every year the US and Canada celebrate the return of spring with their now-famous Maple Syrup Festivals. Put a spring in your step with some sweet fun and frolics at the best Maple Syrup Festivals across the continent.
Maple Syrup production relies heavily on the climate, and even though the temperature still feels wintery, the festivals mark the start of spring in the Maple producing areas. Canada currently produces 85% of the world’s Maple Syrup, the majority of which comes from Quebec. With a 75% slice of the Maple Syrup pie, Quebec takes its Maple Syrup industry very seriously. Vermont is the largest producer in the US, with many other states also producing smaller quantities.
When the winter starts drawing to a close, and the hints of spring are in the air, maple manufacturers across the North American continent get ready to celebrate their syrupy produce. It’s time for the Maple Syrup Festivals to start when the sap starts to run in the Maple trees. You can expect all the best parts of a great festival, with demonstrations of Maple Syrup-based foods, local craft booths, educational activities and entertainment, and lots of great family fun. So if you’re looking for a great day out, with plenty to do for all the family, the Spring Maple Syrup Festivals are a sweet treat for all.
Ontario has a multitude of Maple Syrup Festivals during March and April. They also include a full list of delicious maple syrup-featured recipes to choose from. Many of the festivals listed have winter fun activities as well as the more traditional ones that are worth your while.. Below are some to look out for:
Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival
Walk the nature trails, be a lumberjack in the log-sawing contests and snowshoe competitions, or just relax and delight in the food, there’s something for everyone. You can take the horse-drawn sleigh ride, just $2 each, or enjoy the music of the local bands while indulging in a plate of hot pancakes with sausages for only $7.
Open in early March, the Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival offers free shuttles to Sandy Flat sugar bush. Admission is $4, with free entry for kids 12-years and below.
Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival
Enjoy the taste of real maple syrup at the Kortright Centre for Conservation. As an area of remarkable natural beauty, what better place to hold the local Maple Syrup Festival. With wagon rides, pancakes, real maple syrup and lots of activities, as well as three other sites to choose from, Sugarbush is a real Easter treat. Try their Easter Egg Hunt, for some kiddie fun, or the Maple Syrup by Lamplight (7pm-9pm) with delicious treats by a blazing campfire. Open every day from March 5 – April 3, online tickets include unlimited admission to all four locations. Advanced tickets are required, at $9 for adults and $6 for seniors and children aged five to fourteen. Under fives go free.
Learn more : http://kortright.org/whats-on/
Crinklaw Maple Products Festival
Eight generations of the same family have owned and run this maple syrup farm, producing traditional maple syrup for over 180 years. You can visit anytime through the syrup season, but the best time is for their annual Maple Syrup Festival weekend, during the March break. And the festival supports the local Girl guides chapter as a fundraiser.
The festival includes wagon rides, sugar house tours and lots of delicious maple syrup samples. And visit their gift shop before you leave for great maple-based gifts. Open from March 5 – April 9, admission is free. Additional costs for food. And it’s best to call ahead before visiting.
Learn more : http://crinklawmaplesyrup.com/
Horton Tree Farms Maple Syrup Festival
This family-run farm hosts plenty of spring fun in their annual festival, from wagon rides through the sugar bush, to a traditional pancake breakfast in the log cabin. Sample the sap and the syrup, and get a guided tour through the whole farm, or just wander around and guide yourself. There is even an on-site museum of the traditional methods of sap collection. Open weekends from March 12 – April 10, admission is $5.50-$6.50 for adults, $4.50 for kids five to twelve years, and under fives are free.
Learn more : http://hortontreefarms.com/maple_syrup.php
Festival Beauceron de l’Erable
The largest of the Maple Syrup areas, Quebec is one of the most popular vacation destinations for the festivities, and in one of the most beautifully scenic areas of the province is the Festival Beauceron de l’Erable, near Saint-Georges. The festival is a local celebration of the heritage of Quebec, with links to the traditions that were a way of life in the rural communities. Try the tasty traditional foods, from maple-cured ham to dumplings poached in maple syrup. Eat hot maple taffy from a bed of ice-cold snow. And drink the caribou, the local mix of wine and alcohol that will leave you feeling very festive. Local crafts and agricultural produce is also available in abundance.
Learn more : http://www.festivalbeaucerondelerable.com/fr/
Manitoba Sugaring Off Festival
The Musée de St-Pierre-Jolys hosts the Manitoba Sugaring Off Festival every year in Early April. Embrace the area’s French-Canadian history with tours and demos that tell the history of the maple syrup harvest, taste the delicious traditional local food, and dance away to the live local bands. And check out the historical Maison Roy-Goulet building and see firsthand how the area’s classic sweet treats are made. And maybe sample a few along the way. Open on the 2nd weekend in April, admission is free.
Learn more : http://www.museestpierrejolys.ca/sugaringoff.html
National Maple Syrup Festival
A few miles north of Medora, Indiana is Burton’s Maplewood Farm, the setting for the National Maple Syrup Festival. It is the first and only national festival in the US, attracting visitors and participants from all over the syrup-producing states. There are demonstrations, activities and entertainment for all, and hot pancakes with maple syrup are available all day. Taste syrup from every syrup-producing state all in one place.
Learn more : http://nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com/
Indian Creek Nature Center
See how syrup was tapped and made by both Native Americans and the first pioneers in Cedar Woods, Iowa, with all-day demonstrations and learn more about the process and the trees themselves in an environmental setting. Enjoy a pancake breakfast with lashings of deliciously sweet syrup. The center is open for sugaring off every weekend in March. And they train their volunteer workers last weekend in February.
Learn more : http://www.indiancreeknaturecenter.org/
Make Your Own in Minnesota State Parks
Minnesota has plenty of festivals as spring fills the air. You can also “make your own” maple syrup with the ongoing programs in Fort Snelling, Sibley State Park, Whitewater State Park, Lake Maria, and Wild River State Park.
Experience actually making the syrup, from the base sap, and take some home with you at the end of the day. The programs fill fast, so advance registration is advised. Festivals can be found at the Audubon Center of the North Woods near Sandstone, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, Saint John’s Arboretum in Collegeville, and the Eastman Nature Center in Osseo.
Wisconsin Maple Syrup Festival
The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Festival website has listings of a veritable plethora of events where you can watch maple syrup being made, trees being tapped, and delicious foods to tempt your palate. The festivals all feature an environmental theme and are held at many of the Nature Centers and Nature Preserves across the state. Enjoy the beauty of the Wisconsin countryside, as it was when the pioneers first settled, and taste the sweet syrups made using traditional methods.
Learn more : http://www.wisconsinmaplesyrupfestival.com/
Ride a mule-drawn wagon, play in the children’s activity area, or try the kids’ scavenger hunt. Leane & Michael’s Sugarbush has a whole day full of fun for all the family. Watch the pioneer maple syrup-making display, demonstrations of the Indian maple syrup making methods, and enjoy delicious food. And the admission and parking is free.
The 26th Annual Maple Syrup Festival runs in Salem, Indiana, on March 4-5 and March 11-12, 2017.
Learn more : http://www.lmsugarbush.com/ourfestival.html
Shepard Maple Syrup Festival
In Shepard, Michigan, the festival is a true community affair. The volunteers are there to carry the sap buckets, make the sausages, and sell the candies. If a good old-fashioned town party is your thing, then this is the place to be on the last weekend of April. And all proceeds of the Maple Syrup Festival go to finance a ten-week long summer recreation program for local school children, and the maintenance of the local park.
Learn more : https://shepherdmaplesyrupfest.wordpress.com/
Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival
The first Maple Syrup Festival in Michigan, Vermontville has something for everyone. Fairground rides, arts and crafts, parades, a petting zoo, and lots of displays, games and entertainments. There is even a princess pageant for the Maple Princess and a talent show for the musically minded. You’ll find syrup producers all through the village, selling candies, crèmes, syrups and local cotton candy made from local maple syrup.
The festival is always on the last weekend in April.
Learn more : http://vermontvillemaplesyrupfestival.org/
Byron Forest Preserve District
Enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast in Byron, Illinois, and follow it up with hay rides, kid’s crafts, and lots more. And you can experience real tree tapping and syrup making. And the Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa is a great place to stay to enjoy the festivities. Their Festival package includes Friday and Saturday lodging, pancake breakfasts, spa discounts and a complementary bottle of Maple Syrup. Admission to the Byron Forest Preserve District is free, with a small fee for the breakfast.
Learn more : http://www.byronforestpreserve.com/
Pennsylvania Maple Festival
From its meager start around one pot-bellied stove, the Pennsylvania Maple Festival has grown into the biggest in the Meyersdale area, hosting some 10,000 visitors every year, and being the center of the local community. Fitness fans can try the 5k Maple Run, car buffs can visit the auto show, and they even have tractor pulling contests and an historical pageant. Inside the Maple Festival Park you’ll find a replica of the local community as it was in the pioneer days, complete with doctor’s office, homestead, cobbler’s shop and country store. And for the girls of the local high school, the Maple Queen contest always draws a host of entries. Open on March 25 & 26 and March 29 to April 2, 2017.
Learn more : http://www.pamaplefestival.com/
Highland Maple Festival
In the Southeast, nothing draws a bigger crowd than the Highland Maple Festival in Monterey, Virginia. Over 35,000 people descend on the area over two weekends, making it one of the region’s largest craft shows. You can visit sugar camps across the county with the Maple Sugar Tour, and experience the sugar farmer’s lifestyle by staying on a real working farm. And for the energetic, you can shake your thang at the Festival Fling Dance, Festival Sugar Shakeup Dance or the Maple Queen Ball. Open on the second weekend in April, admission is free.
Related articles published in The Canadian Maple Industry :
- The Federal Government invests in Maple syrup
- New Brunswick: Maple Syrup producers get a boost from the Government
- Maple syrup now to be classified under a new uniform grading system
Image : Shutterstock