I've always been curious about the process of making Maple Syrup. I knew it came from maple trees, and I knew in Canada, and the northern U.S., it's a VERY large, and lucrative business and trade.

Naturally, I have questions, and this weekend, I might get them answered at Kalamazoo's annual Maple Sugar Festival at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

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This will be the 58th annual gathering of the sweetness in Kalamazoo with a ton of activities, demos, and vendors.

"Celebrate the maple sugaring season at KNC's 58th annual Maple Sugar Festival! Maple Sugar Festival is KNC's largest fundraiser, with proceeds supporting high-quality, innovative programming offered throughout the year."

That statement from the Kalamazoo Nature Center is exactly why this is such an important event to attend. All money raised at the Maple Sugar Festival will go toward funding their programs throughout the year and help them maintain the property, and all of the exhibits and plant and animal life they have year-round.

New this year, the festival will take place at two locations - the Visitor Center on the Main Campus, and at the DeLano Homestead at Delano Farms. Both places will have unique exhibits and demonstrations throughout the day.

Visitor Center/Main Campus

  • Pancake Breakfast - 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
    • Pancakes with real maple syrup, sausage, and orange juice
    • Coffee available for purchase from Factory Coffee
  • Maple Sugar Tours and visits to the Sugar Shack - 9 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
  • Live Music with Hard Travelin' Boys - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • "Up in the Air: Birds Navigating the Anthropocene" and "Art Drawn from Nature II" exhibits with artist talks
  • Art Making and other activities for children
  • Creature Features with KNC's ambassador animals - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Story Trail: "Mushroom Rain" by Laura K. Zimmerman

You can register for a Maple Sugar Tour by visiting the KNC's event website.

DeLano Homestead/DeLano Farms

  • Historic Maple Sugaring featuring indigenous and pioneer practices
  • Candle dipping and traditional children's games
  • Chicken Encounters: Meet a personable member of our feathered flock
  • Soil blocking at DeLano Farms
  • Earth Loom: Join the community in creating a work of art
  • Fiber Arts demos by Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo
  • Factory Coffee Food Truck
  • Horse-Drawn Wagon rides - Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Blacksmith Demonstrations by Morgan Pell

All-Inclusive passes are $8 per member, $19 for non-members, and $17 for non-members who are ages 4-17, or 55 or older. The all-inclusive pass gives you admission, one pancake breakfast with choice of maple popcorn or ice cream, and access to all other activities.

There are also admission only passes available with A la Carte prices for each feature.

The Maple Sugar Festival officially opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 11th, at both locations.

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