It’s sugaring season and Pennsylvania has the sweetest events and festivals to add to your calendar! Experience the secret to tapping perfect maple sap and discover how maple production plays a role in the Keystone State’s culinary history at these annual events.
1. Getting Started with Backyard Maple Sugaring
Ever want to tap a maple tree to make your own scrumptious maple syrup? Here’s your chance with Getting Started with Backyard Maple Sugaring at the Jennings Environmental Education Center, Feb. 12. From choosing appropriate trees to tapping, collecting and evaporating maple sap, learn, observe and practice the steps in the sugaring process and discover how you too can tap into this iconic gift of Mother Nature. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required.
2. Family Science Outside: Maple Sugaring!
Here’s a maple sugar adventure the whole family can enjoy! Family Science Outside: Maple Sugaring at the Jennings Environment Education Center brings at-home learners and their grown-ups into the living lab of the great outdoors to explore the science and math behind making maple syrup, Feb. 22, 24, and 27! Perfect for families with kids in second to sixth grades, this choose-your-own adventure experience is a perfect escape from screens! Participation is free, but pre-registration is required.
3. Maple Sugaring Open Houses
A perfect place to learn all out maple sugaring is Montour Preserve’s sugar shack along the Goose Woods Trail. Here, you can learn about the cultural and natural history of maple sugaring, complete with the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of maple sugaring at a Maple Sugaring Open House, Feb. 26 and Mar. 13.
4. Maple Sugaring at the Peter Wentz Farmstead
Join Farmer Jay at the Peter Wentz Farmstead to learn all about Maple Sugaring, Feb. 27. See how to tap the trees, collect the sap, and create the syrup. Also learn about the unique history of Maple Sugaring. This program is weather dependent, so if the temperature isn’t just right the sap may not flow! The program will be rescheduled for Mar. 5 if the weather isn’t right.
5. Brookfield Maple Products
Tioga County is one of the state’s most popular destinations to discover great maple products and production facilities. Visit Brookfield Maple Products, which has a great reputation for its certified organic maple producers. They work hard to ensure nothing but the best in maple products are available all year long, including maple syrup in glass or plastic jugs, maple granulated sugar, maple cream, maple candy, and maple gift baskets.
6. Patterson Maple Farms
Patterson Maple Farms is known for its syrups and product line and is the largest maple producer in the state. These fourth-generation maple producers take pride in producing the finest quality maple syrup, cream, candy, sugar, and gift baskets – all for those who enjoy the pure taste of nature's premium sweetness. Their Bourbon Infused Maple Syrup is a big hit, so be sure to grab a flask while supplies last!
7. Maple Sugar Magic
Green Lane Park is the place to be for some Maple Sugar Magic, Mar. 5. Now in its 33 year, enjoy demonstrations of tree-tapping and sap gathering and boiling to make syrup. You can also learn about the discovery of maple sugar dating back to the 1500s. Be sure to pick up some Pure Pennsylvania maple syrup, candy and cream that will be available for sale.
8. Maple Sugar Day at Peace Valley Nature Center
Syrup lovers, bring your family and friends to Maple Sugar Day, Mar. 5 at Peace Valley Nature Center. Experience the way maple sugar was collected and made during the pioneer days. Travel to the sugar bush to sample some maple sap and learn the history behind this delightful gift of Mother Nature. Be sure to purchase some fresh Bucks County maple syrup to enjoy with friends and family at home.
9. Mount Hope Maple Madness
Camp Eder is once again the site for Mount Hope Maple Madness, Mar. 5. Tucked into the wooded outskirts of historic Gettysburg, Camp Eder is the ideal setting for a wintertime outing. Gather the family and spend the morning outdoors learning about the process of maple sugaring – from tapping the tree to turning the sap into sweet, pure maple syrup. You can purchase tickets ahead of time to ensure your spot for their all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast featuring pancakes perfect for maple syrup drizzling, sausage, and eggs to treat your taste buds!
10. Maple Sugar Day & Pancake Breakfast at Churchville Nature Center
Join the friendly folks at the Churchville Nature Center for their annual Maple Sugar Day, Mar. 6. The process of tapping maple trees, collecting sap, and making maple syrup is actually quite simple. It does, however, take some time and a willingness to get outdoors and experience this miracle of nature. This year’s event will again feature a pancake breakfast, but be sure to purchase your tickets early for this popular event.
11. Maple Madness
Fox Chapel, Sarver, Penn Township
Learn how people have used maple through the ages at one of the Audubon Society of Western PA Maple Madness sessions. Tour their maple sugar demonstration trail and discover the history and science of maple syrup—and how to collect and make your own at Buffalo Creek Nature Park, Mar. 12; Beechwood Farms Nature Preserve, Mar. 19; and Succop Nature Park, Mar. 26. There is a fee to attend a Maple Madness session and pre-registration is required.
12. Maple Weekend Taste and Tour
Enjoy a weekend filled with all things maple at Somerset County’s signature Maple Weekend Taste and Tour, Mar. 12-13. The free, self-guided tour is hosted by the Somerset County Maple Producers Association and now includes 15 sugar camps. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, explore the farms to learn about maple syrup production and sample a variety of delicious maple products from those who know maple best!
13. Loch’s Maple
When the sap starts flowing in the maple trees of the Endless Mountains, the Loch family begins the generational practice of tapping the trees. Loch’s Maple begins producing the popular Made in PA product used for the family’s popular syrups, candies, and Loch’s signature “Maple Popcorn” – a perennial favorite confection!
14. Andy’s Own Pure Maple Syrup
Grab the family and enjoy the maple syrup operations at Andy's Own Pure Maple Syrup. This fourth-generation family business has been producing maple syrup for more than 50 years. Every spring, more than 300 gallons of sap are extracted from more than 800 local trees. The interactive experience blends modern equipment and traditional values to make some of the best maple syrup around!
15. 75th Annual Pennsylvania Maple Festival
There’s no better place to experience maple syrup magic than in the Laurel Highlands at the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, Apr. 23-24 and Apr. 27-May 1. Maple season festivities culminate at the annual festival in “Maple City USA” Celebrating its 75th year, the festival features a variety of activities including maple syrup production demonstrations, live entertainment, children’s activities, and tractor shows. Don’t miss the Grand Feature Parade, Lions Club pancake and sausage dinners, and the “Legend of the Magic Water,” where reenactors and interpreters depict the discovery of maple syrup as well as the history!
16. Tapped: A Maple Trail
Experience maple mania year-round on VisitPA’s curated road trip Tapped: A Maple Trail. The trail has two legs, one in the Laurel Highlands and one in the Pennsylvania Wilds, that take you through wooded areas flush with all types of maple product producers, including coffee shops, distilleries, candy makers, restaurants, farm tours and historic sites.
To see a full list of the events and festivals happening this winter, check out the visitPA website. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great trip ideas and places to visit around the state.