Maple Sugaring Festival Review March 7, 2022

During maple sugaring season, maple syrup festivals, tours and open house events are held annually and here are some reviews

Maple Sugaring Days at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

St. Charles, IL — The Forest Preserve District of Kane County held its annual Maple Sugaring Days at Creek Bend Nature Center within LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve.

The event was from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday Sunday, March 5th & 6th and admission was free and included the return of the Maple Cafe where visitors could purchase hot cocoa as well as enjoy ice cream drizzled with maple syrup.

“I really like maple syrup and I really like pancakes with just that on them,” said Caleb Szczypinski, 7, of West Dundee “I don’t like jelly or anything else – just maple syrup.”

Caleb Szczypinski’s father Patrick said his family came for the first time, adding that “the event seems cool and the kids like maple syrup. It’s their favorite thing.”

“It’s pretty cool to come and see how it’s done and I don’t think too many people realize we’ve got big maple trees around here – you think Vermont or Canada – so it’s cool to have something like this close by,” he said.

Patrick’s wife Jessica Szczypinski said she found out about the event on Facebook and that the “liquid gold” nature of maple syrup made her feel “a little different about my pancakes.”

“My kids love this and if it was up to them, they’d dump the whole bottle on their plate,” she said.

Erica Sommers of Geneva came with her family and said that given the weather “this was a good hands-on activity for the kids.”

“We have been to similar things in Vermont and Canada and we thought it would be fun to come to one in the Midwest,” she said.

Erica’s husband Glenn Gould said he knew “there were a lot of maple trees in the area” but wasn’t aware of the sap tapping going on.

“We’ve seen this before and it’s interesting the sap starts out clear and then become the darker stuff you’re used to seeing in the stores,” he said.

Barb McKittrick the Environmental education manager for Kane County Forest Preserve District said the annual rite of spring has been held for about 25 years. in St. Charles and is very popular.

“I think we’re actually looking at 800 to 1,000 people each day,” she said as crowds poured all over the grounds. “With the no mask mandate coming out this week and the good weather we’re expecting record crowds.”

McKittrick spoke about the volume of the sap already collected as well as “how surprised people are about the different grades of maple syrup.”

“There’s golden through amber and the syrup we collect in the beginning is a real light color and as the season progresses it gets darker and darker and more robust,” she said. “None are better than the other – it’s just a preference. The color changes because the sugar content of the tree changes over the season.”

Erica Lemon, a naturalist for the Kane County Forest Preserve District who lives in Pingree Grove said “We are looking at hundreds of people this weekend and in terms of attendance this is always weather dependent,” “This is not the norm. Kids get to see something they don’t normally see and I think the closest major production of maple syrup is Funks Grove down in central Illinois. A lot of the forest preserve and park districts have an event like because people aren’t familiar with it. It’s completely different from what people are used to.”

“You’re talking about 40-to-1 or 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. It’s mind boggling when you think about it for sure,” Erica said.

tried boring into a stump with a hand auger and said he was able to get through the bark.

Nolan Gould, 10, said “I think maple syrup is really good. I dump a lot on my pancakes.”

Maple Sugaring Days at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

37W700 Dean St
St. Charles, IL 60175
(630) 232-5980


Mohawk Valley Trading Company

Utica, NY – The Mohawk Valley Trading Company maple syrup is made primarily from sugar maple sap which is preferred for maple syrup production because it has an average sugar content of two percent. Sap from other maple species is usually lower in sugar content, and about twice as much is needed to produce the same amount of finished syrup. Mohawk Valley Trading Company also offers granulated and powdered maple sugar. 

Mohawk Valley Trading Company
901 Broad St
Utica, NY 13501


Angelic Organics Learning Center Maple Program

ROCKFORD, Ill — Angelic Organics Learning Center in Caledonia offered a maple program where visitors spent the day enjoying time outdoors and learning about the history, art and science of making maple syrup and sugar.

An assortment of different maple syrups was available for tasting.

“This is a seasonal program because there’s just one period of time each year when maple syrup production takes place and this is our second year running this program in this format with a nice hike and so we do it once a year in the late winter,” said Amanda Greco-Holmes, of the Angelic Organics Learning Center.


Back to top button