Big 400 Maple Festival

It’s maple syrup time! The communities of The Big 400 are teaming up to celebrate maple syruping in southern Michigan with a festival on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10, 2013. The festival includes pancake breakfasts, tours of tapping areas and the syruping process, the release of a local maple wine, and lots of good things to eat.

Pancake Breakfasts

There are three locations to choose from for a Pancake Breakfast on Saturday morning, March 9:pancakes

  • American Legion Post 31 (Chelsea), 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Bring your family and friends to the Legion Post on Cavanaugh Lake for a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, juice, milk, or coffee with real maple syrup. Cost: $6 per person. 1700 Ridge Rd, Chelsea, MI 48118, 734.475.3170

 

  • McLennan Maple Syrup (Manchester), Stop by anytime on Saturday beginning at 9:00 am for a pancake breakfast. Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for children. Sides of sausage are available for an additional charge. 10950 M-52, Manchester, MI 48158, 734.428.7005

 

  • Hell’s Kitchen (Hell), 8 – 11:00 am Head into Hell for pancakes, sausage, coffee, Milk, OJ for a mere $6. Also, be sure to take advantage of a one-hour trail hike by a DNR Interpreter and Ranger at the Pinckney Recreation Area near Hell at 11:00 am. 4025 Patterson Lake Road. Hell, MI 48169

 

Proceeds from the breakfasts go to support The Big 400 in guiding tourists to our region.

 

Maple Tours and Interpretation

Saturday, March 9 – Sunday, March 10

  • Eddy Discovery Center, 10 am to 4 pm – It’s time for that traditional rite of spring, tapping maple trees. Observe demonstrations of the whole process of making maple DIGITAL CAMERAsyrup from collection the sap to the evaporation process. A film will show visitors the old-time methods used to make maple syrup. Maple products will be available for purchase. Cost: $2 per person or $5 per family. 17030 Bush Rd, Chelsea, MI 48118, 734.475.3170

 

  • McLennan Maple Syrup, tours: every two hours beginning at 9 am – take a look at the sugar shack process, handle tools and supplies, learn about tapping the trees, and take part in maple-related activities such as coloring and crafts. Maple candy and ice cream with syrup are available for purchase. 10950 M-52, Manchester, MI 48158, 734.428.7005

 

  • Hudson Mills Metropark, near Dexter, at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon – See how to tap trees, collect sap and boil it into maple syrup. All-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage, with real maple syrup, will be served at the Activity Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the days the tours are offered. Guided tour: $3 per person. Pancake breakfast: $3.50 per child/$5.50 per adult. Reservations required for the guided tour. For more information/reservations, call Hudson Mills Metropark at 734-426-8211 or 800-477-3191.

 

Maple Wine Release and Cafe

Saturday, March 9 – Sunday, March 10

Sugar Snow

Sandhill Crane Vineyards, A highlight of the Maple Festival is the release of the current vintage of Sugar Snow, Sandhill Crane Vineyards’ limited edition dessert wine made with local maple sap and syrup. Light and not too sweet, Sugar Snow pairs beautifully with light desserts, sweet cheeses, and the winery’s famous Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. On Saturday and Sunday the winery’s new café will feature all sorts of sweet and savory dishes made with maple, including Sugar Snow Sorbet, a light, refreshing sorbet made with their wine by Zingerman’s Creamery. The winery will feature live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Maple products (such as syrup and maple cream) will be available for purchase. Free admission.

 

Taste of the Irish Hills

Saturday, March 9 – Sunday, March 10

Travel through the Brooklyn-Irish Hills to area restaurants and taste their specialties! Tickets are available from the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce for only $15, and cover tasting at 20 different establishments. irishhills.com, 517.592.8907

 

Other Maple Activities

Dahlem Conservancy: Maple Sugaring Program, Saturday, March 16, noon – Come see the sugaring process step-by-step, with hands-on activities for all ages.  maple syrup(1)Guided walks begin every twenty minutes. Hike to the sugar bush, try your hand at tapping, and see sap being converted to syrup. Maple sugar candy and syrup will be for sale in the Gift Shop. We’ll be outside for the tour, so please dress for the weather. Call ahead to register for a time slot—tours start every 20 minutes, with the last tour at 2:00 p.m.

 

Ella Sharp Museum – Sugaring & Shearing Festival, Sunday, March 24, noon to 4 pm – Featuring Haigh’s Maple Syrup from Bellevue, MI along with shearing demonstrations.

 

Hudson Mills Metro Park - “Maple Sugaring:  Journey to the Sugar Bush,” Hudson Mills Metropark, near Dexter, at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon, Saturdays and Sundays, February 23 & 24, March 2 & 3, 9 & 10, and 16 & 17. See how to tap trees, collect sap and boil it into maple syrup. All-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage, with real maple syrup, will be served at the Activity Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the days the tours are offered. Guided tour: $3 per person. Pancake breakfast: $3.50 per child/$5.50 per adult. Reservations required for the guided tour. Weekday programs (Wednesday through Friday) are available by appointment to schools and organized groups. For more information/reservations, call Hudson Mills Metropark at 734-426-8211 or 800-477-3191.

 

More about maple syruping:

  • Michigan ranks 6th in maple syrup production in the United States.
  • Average maple syrup production in Michigan is about 90,000 gallons per year.
  • Economic contributions of the pure maple syrup industry to Michigan are nearly $2.5 million annually.
  • There are an estimated 500 commercial maple syrup producers in Michigan with some 2,000 additional hobby or home use producers.
  • The production of pure maple syrup is the oldest agricultural enterprise in the United States.
  • Maple syrup is one of the few agricultural crops in which demand exceeds supply.
  • Only about 1 percent of Michigan’s maple forest resource is used in maple syrup production.
  • In an average year, each tap-hole will produce about 10 gallons of maple sap, enough for about a quart of pure Michigan maple syrup.
  • Maple sap is a slightly sweet, colorless liquid.
  • It takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

For more information about maple syruping in Michigan visit mi-maplesyrup.com

 

About The Big 400

The 400 square miles encompassing the Waterloo and Pinkney Recreation Areas and their neighbors has recently been designated as The Big 400. The Big 400 is a tourist area featuring outdoor recreation, small town living, and a wide range of activities and events.