Preparations underway for 36th annual Maple Syrup Festival
It’s that time of year again. Preparations have already begun for Indian Creek Nature Center’s beloved Maple Syrup Festival, now in its 36th year. This year’s festival will be on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24.
Staff and volunteers tapped trees last week and sap is already flowing, thanks to fluctuations in temperatures as we approach the end of February. Each year, the Nature Center installs approximately 250 taps into150 maple trees on the property on the southeast side of Cedar Rapids, near where Indian Creek flows into the Cedar River.
Beginning March 1, maple syruping field trips will teach students about Native American, pioneer and modern methods of syruping, as well as give them a taste of the Nature Center’s handcrafted maple syrup over ice cream.
Scout groups, adult clubs, retirement communities and others are also welcome to book a maple syruping “field trip” where they will participate in the maple syruping process by tapping a maple tree at the Nature Center.
For three weekends in March leading up to the Maple Syrup Festival, we also host “It’s Maple Syrupin’ Time” programs that are open to the public. We recommend registering in advance as these programs fill up quickly. Registration can be found on the Nature Center’s website (indiancreeknaturecenter.org) under “Public Programs.” The fee is $4 per person (ages 3 and up).
On March 23 and 24, the public is invited to taste ICNC’s real, handcrafted maple syrup at the 36th annual Maple Syrup Festival from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. The festival features educational stations, live music and a pancake and sausage breakfast featuring our maple syrup (this is the only time our syrup is served). The breakfast takes place at the Nature Center’s main building, Amazing Space, but there will also be activities at the Penningroth Barn and Maple Sugar House. A shuttle will run between the two locations. More details and advance tickets are available now at indiancreeknaturecenter.org. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door for adults, $4 advance or $5 at the door for children aged 4 to 12 years old. Children three and under get in free.
In addition to the festival and syruping programs, Indian Creek Nature Center has teamed up with local businesses to create products with our maple syrup. Dan and Debbie’s Creamery in Ely will make maple syrup ice cream that will be available for purchase starting March 1 for $6 per pint (quantities are limited). Iowa Brewing Company will again produce a Maple Fest Lager that will also be available for purchase at the festival.
About Indian Creek Nature Center:
Located in Cedar Rapids, Indian Creek Nature Center is Iowa’s first and only privately owned and operated nonprofit nature center. With nearly 500 acres of land under its management, the Nature Center hosts thousands of visitors each year for nature-based programs and activities. The mission of the Indian Creek Nature Center is to promote a sustainable future by nurturing individuals through environmental education, providing leadership in land protection and restoration and encouraging responsible interaction with nature.