James Rada, Jr.
Fun Facts: Although maple trees are found on other continents, no other continent’s maples can compare in sweetness to the sugar maple trees in North America. It takes an average of 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
As spring approaches in the area, maple sap is flowing into buckets to make maple syrup in the area. Two maple sugaring events will be held in March.
The Maple Syrup Festival is returning as an in-person event at Cunningham Falls State Park on March 12-13 and 19-20. This festival has been a staple in Frederick County for more than 50 years.
Park staff will demonstrate the traditional way of simmering sap to syrup, starting every half hour from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. each day.
“It’s the first time for a live event since 2019,” said Park Manager Mark Spurrier. “This will be a scaled-back event because we didn’t want to overplan since we don’t know what conditions will be like.”
This year’s festival will have two boiling sites and a storybook hiking trail. The trail will tell the story of how maple syrup is made and show how trees are tapped to gather sap.
Unlike previous festivals, this year’s event won’t have live music or a pancake breakfast.
“We’re going to keep it simple,” Spurrier said. “We want to get people outside and back into the park.”
Although the park will be making syrup using the old kettle method, it is only for demonstration purposes. Maryland-made maple syrup will be available for sale at the event though.
Admission to the park and event is $3.00, with the money going to support the park and the Friends of Cunningham Falls State Park. For more information, visit www.cunninghamgambrill.org/.
Just over the state line in Pennsylvania, Strawberry Hill will host the Mount Hope Maple Madness at Camp Eder on March 5. The camp is in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.
“We are giving people a chance to taste what we produce,” said Amanda Markle, environmental education manager for Strawberry Hill.
The event will feature a breakfast with all-you-can-eat pancakes and Pennsylvania maple syrup. Then you can take a guided tour through the woods to see how maple syrup is made from start to finish.
“We are hoping to tap a tree with every tour,” Markle said.
Back at the main area, visitors will also be able to visit local vendors, offering hand-made goods, nature-related items, and information about local nature organizations.
The cost for breakfast is $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for children. The tour is $7.00. You can combine the two for $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children.
Because Strawberry Hill does not want to get overcrowded due to health concerns, making a reservation for a tour is strongly recommended.
For more information on this event, visit www.strawberryhill.org/maplemadness.
Visitors to the Maple Syrup Festival watch a demonstration of how sap is boiled to make maple syrup.
Photo Courtesy of Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrills State Parks