January 31, 2019

Get tickets now for SIU’s popular Maple Syrup Festival

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A little tap, a little sap, cook it and voila – homemade maple syrup!

You can experience the process of turning fresh maple sap into a tasty treat and enjoy the sweet treat atop pancakes during a festival filled with activities indoors and out Feb. 23 and 24 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center. That and much more are happening at the popular annual Maple Syrup Festival and Pancake Breakfast.  

Get tickets now for breakfast featuring syrup made on site

Breakfast is served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the menu features homemade pancakes and maple syrup made from sugar maple sap harvested at Touch of Nature. 

Buy tickets online in advance and save. Get tickets at www.ton.siu.edu for $12 each for ages 13 and older or $6 for children ages 6-12. Kids age five or younger eat free.

Tickets will also be available at the door for $15 for ages 13 and older or $8 for children ages 6-12.

Fun for all ages

While tickets are required to enjoy the breakfast, the rest of the festival is free and open to all. The festivities take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.

The family friendly event features a wide variety of activities. Enjoy maple syrup making demonstrations, test your rock-climbing skills on the climbing wall and participate in interpretive hikes around the center, which is set on 3,200-acre plot adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest.  Youngsters can join in assorted hands-on outdoor environmental educational activities throughout the day.

Those attending will want to check out the blacksmith and lumberjack demonstrations and the numerous vendors and artisans who will be on site. Displays will showcase natural woven baskets, beekeeping, alpaca yarn, silk embroidery, goat’s milk products, handmade textiles and jewelry, natural soaps and lotions, wood and pottery crafts and handmade ropes.

American Indian author/historian George Godfrey will be on hand and visitors can also watch as hides are tanned and experience what it was like to employ survival skills in primitive times.

New interactive activities and vendors are still being added to the lineup as well. No registration is required just for the festival.

To learn more

For more information about the festival, or to get tickets for the pancake breakfast, visit http://ton.siu.edu/events/maple-syrup-festival.php. Or, call 618/453-1121 or email tonec@siu.edu to learn more about these events or Touch of Nature.

Community sponsors for this year’s Maple Syrup Festival and Pancake Breakfast are River Radio of Southern Illinois and Laborers Local 773. Event sponsors are the SIU Credit Union and Paul Melzer’s Country Financial in Murphysboro.