January 27, 2016

Popular maple syrup festival, pancake breakfast set

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 2016 Maple Syrup Festival and Pancake Breakfast, a special learning and dining experience offered by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center, is set for Feb. 27-28. 

The popular event incorporates two experiences into one. The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. The Maple Syrup Festival features opportunities to view demonstrations and purchase items from area artisans and vendors. Visitors can observe blacksmithing, hide tanning, basket weaving, woodworking, furniture making, handcrafted guitars, pottery, silk embroidery, natural soaps and candles, herbal products and more. 

Participants will learn about the history of maple production and see for themselves how trees are tapped and how maple syrup is made from the sap during demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  There will also be guided tree identification hikes at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  A variety of children’s activities will be taking place throughout the day as well. 

Admission to the festival is $3 per vehicle. But, the charge is waived for all who have pre-registered and paid in advance to enjoy the annual pancake breakfast, served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 26 and 27.  Dine on homemade pancakes with maple syrup processed from Touch of Nature trees. 

Tickets for the breakfast, purchased in advance, are $12 for ages 13 and older and $6 for children ages 6-12. Kids age five and younger eat free. If purchased at the door, tickets are $15 for ages 13 and older or $8 for children ages 6-12. 

Buy tickets or learn more online at www.ton.siu.edu or by calling 618/453-1121.The deadline for purchasing tickets in advance is 2 p.m. Feb. 26.