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Are You Ready for Maple Season?

After months of cold and blustery weather, spring is just around the corner. The temperatures are slowly starting to rise. For those of us living in the Northern United States, that means one thing; maple syrup season is almost here.

Getting sap from maple trees.

Maple production starts in March, when the days start getting warmer and the nights are still down below freezing. This stimulates the production of sap in maple trees, which is then harvested and boiled down to make maple syrup, candy, and other treats. The beginning of April marks the beginning of Maple Festival season. By that point, maple syrup producers have built up a huge supply, and are ready to sell.

The Maple Syrup Process

Boiling the sap down to make syrup.

I spend all year looking forward to that magical weekend in the beginning of April when our local Maple Festival takes over a small town near here. There are pancake breakfasts, a talent show, a parade, bake sales, and a lot of great maple products on sale. People travel from all over the area, even some from other states, to join in with the excitement. We are celebrating not only another successful maple season, but also the start of spring.

I always try to stock up on these local products, knowing that they will be difficult to find until maple season rolls around next year. I feel good about supporting the local economy, and the prices are cheaper than I could find in stores. In fact, I'll be buying extra syrup this spring, as last year's bottle has been empty since December.


Maple Syrup: bottled and ready for sale.

There are maple festivals all over the northern part of the country. One of the biggest is located in Vermont, in a town called St. Albans . Their Maple Festival is scheduled for the last weekend in April. This event features a carnival and antique show, along with all of the traditional maple festival exhibits and sales. The website for the Vermont Maple Festival has directions, tourist information, and a full calendar of events.

The National Maple Syrup Festival , in Medora, Indiana, is a weekend of entertainment, and a great place to bring the family. There is a petting zoo, a children's play area, and lots of fun games for the whole family to enjoy. This maple festival has a blacksmith exhibit, real butter churning, and several other demonstrations, making it a great destination if you're looking for something unique.

The Marathon, New York, Maple Fest runs during the last weekend in March this year. This small New York town has been celebrating the maple season with a weekend festival for dozens of years. This festival features a tasting shack, bake sales, and a craft fair. The highlight of the weekend is the train ride, available from nearby Cortland, which goes to and from the festival multiple times a day. There are also pony, hay wagon, and helicopter rides.

These are just a few of the hundreds of maple festivals available around the country. These festivals are not only a great place to buy maple products, but also to enjoy the community that these events bring together. If you're looking for a great way to spend a weekend, consider taking a trip to a maple festival near you.

Do you attend a local maple festival? What other festivals do you visit to celebrate the arrival of spring?

Jessica | Mar 2, 2009 | Category: Family

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