January 09, 2015

Touch of Nature to host Maple Festival

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The always-popular Maple Festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center will feature special activities, demonstrations and, of course, a pancake breakfast. 

This year’s festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 22 at Touch of Nature, located about eight miles south of Carbondale off of Giant City Road. Demonstrations will include blacksmithing, hide tanning, silk embroidery and furniture, and visitors will have the opportunity to make purchases from local artisans and vendors.  

Tree identification hikes are set for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The maple syrup demonstrations, which give those attending the chance to learn the history of maple syrup production and about the process that converts the tree sap into maple syrup for the kitchen table, will occur at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Admission to the festival and the demonstrations is free. 

The breakfast, featuring homemade pancakes and maple syrup harvested at Touch of Nature, will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance for the reduced prices of $12 for ages 13 and older or $6 for ages 6-13. Children ages five and younger eat free. Advance tickets are available to those who pre-register by 2 p.m. Feb. 20. You can also purchase tickets for the maple syrup pancake breakfast at the door where the price will be $15 and $8.  

Barbecue will also be available for purchase on the grounds beginning at noon. 

For more information, or to purchase breakfast tickets, email tonec@siu.edu or call 618/453-1121.