James Rada, Jr.
This year marks 50 years of celebrating the area’s maple-syrup-making heritage at the Cunningham Falls Maple Syrup Festival.
“A lot of families produced maple syrup on their farms and homesteads, and we wanted to preserve that heritage and teach people about something not well known about this area,” said Ranger Travis Watts at Cunningham Falls State Park.
This year’s festival will be held on March 14, 15, 21, and 22 at the Houck Lake Area of the Park. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can purchase breakfast and maple syrup products. Also offered for the first time this year, you can buy Maple Festival souvenirs. Children can enjoy games, and a maple-syrup-making demonstration will be held every hour. Local bands will provide live music.
“We will also have some new things this year, such as an antique tractor display, and we will be demonstrating new tapping equipment,” Watts said.
About 3,000 to 5,000 people are expected to attend over the four days.
Admission is a $3 donation in lieu of the park entry fee. All of the money collected goes to the Friends of Cunningham Falls State Park and Gambrill State Park, a non-profit group that supports the park.
Maryland Park Service rangers and volunteers demonstrate the traditional way to make maple syrup.
1. It takes a tree about 40 years before it is large enough to tap.
2. Quebec produces two-thirds of the world’s maple syrup.
3. Many producers uses sap pumps rather than taps and buckets to gather sap.
4. Thieves stole $18 million worth of maple syrup from Quebec in 2012.
5. Quebec maintains a huge syrup reserve that can be distributed to members during lean years.
6. You can’t tell the difference between maple sap and water by looking at it.
7. A tablespoon of maple syrup has 52 calories.
8. IHOP has only one restaurant among its 1,400 that serves real maple syrup.
9. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup.
10. Maple trees yield 5 to 15 gallons of sap per season so it takes around three trees to produce a gallon of syrup.