February 22, 2012

Maple Festival-Pancake Breakfast starts Feb. 25-26

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It’s not too late to sign up for a Southern Illinois University Carbondale event that couples a pancake and real maple syrup breakfast with an educational workshop.

There are still a few spots available in each session of the 2012 Maple Festival and Pancake Breakfast, including the two this weekend.  The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, and Sunday, Feb. 26, as well as March 3 and 4.  It’s an annual event at the University’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center, so popular that organizers expanded it to four sessions this year.

Each session includes a breakfast featuring pancakes with maple syrup and sausage served up at Freeburg Hall and Sledgefoot Lounge from 9 to 11 a.m.  It’s a family friendly affair as participants can visit, at their leisure and in any order, a series of interactive stations.  They’ll find out about tree identification and physiology, discovering why trees have sugar and why sap flows when it does.  Visitors will also learn about proper techniques to tap the trees and boil sap into syrup, along with legends, history and the significance of the maple syrup harvest to Native Americans and early settlers and even today.

There is also a new kids’ cabin this year, with special activities just for children. 

Tickets for the Maple Festival and Pancake Breakfast are $15 for those ages 13 and older and $8 for children ages 5-12.  Children ages four and younger can participate free. 

You must pre-register in advance to attend.  The registration deadline is 4:30 p.m. on the Friday prior to the date of the festival you are signing up for.  To register, or for more information, call 618/453-1121.  You can also find additional information online at www.ton.siu.edu.