January 28, 2014

Maple fest-pancake breakfast is Feb. 22-23

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Maple Festival 2014 is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center Feb. 22 and 23. 

The entire family is welcome to participate in the event that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.  The days begin with a home-cooked pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring maple syrup harvested at Touch of Nature. 

Tickets for breakfast are $10 for ages 13 and older and $5 for ages 6-13 for those who pre-register no later than 2 p.m. Feb. 21.  Tickets are $15 and $8 if purchased at the event.  Children ages five and younger are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. 

The Maple Festival experience also gives participants the opportunity to learn the history of maple syrup production and the process that takes maple syrup from the tree to the kitchen table.  There will be tree identification hikes at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Maple syrup demonstrations are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Visitors will learn the proper techniques for tapping trees and boiling the sap into syrup.  They will also discover the history of the maple syrup harvest and its significance to Native Americans, early settlers and people today. 

There are also activities all day long, including continuous demonstrations of blacksmithing, hide tanning, silk embroidery, furniture making and crafts from local artisans and vendors.  Entry is free for the demonstrations, hikes and displays. 

For more information or to register call 618/453-1121 or visit www.ton.siu.edu.