Annual Maple Syrup Festival scheduled at Touch of Nature

Homemade maple syrup is one of nature’s original comfort foods and the star of the show at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s annual Maple Syrup Festival Feb. 24-25. 

Touch of Nature Environmental Center is the setting for a weekend filled with special activities, including a breakfast featuring homemade pancakes and maple syrup harvested at the center. 

The festival, which is open to the public, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. 

Touch of Nature Environmental Center is located about 8 miles south of Carbondale, off Giant City Road. 

Many Activities Planned

The wide variety of activities planned in conjunction with the festival are free, except the breakfast. 

Demonstrations at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day will show how trees are tapped for the rich sap that is transformed into maple syrup. 

The Saluki Environmental Ambassadors, an SIU registered student organization, plans to host outdoor environmental education activities and interpretive hikes at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. 

The SIU Forestry Club plans to offer lumberjack demonstrations at 11 a.m. and noon. 

Graduate students from the university’s blacksmithing program will show their skills with blacksmithing and metal works demonstrations from noon to 2 p.m. 

There will also be special activities for children throughout the day. A short film, “Maple Syrup Farmer,” is scheduled to air at noon and 2 p.m. 

Arts, Crafts, More

Visitors can also see a wide variety of interactive demonstrations courtesy of various artisans and vendors. 

Demonstrations will show how hides are tanned and learn primitive living skills. 

Visitors will have an opportunity to learn how wood and pottery products, handmade textiles and jewelry, woven baskets, natural soaps and lotions and silk embroidery are made. 

Pancake Breakfast

The highlight of the day is breakfast, which is planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The breakfast will feature homemade pancakes topped with real maple syrup, and all of the trimmings. 

If purchased in advance, tickets for the breakfast are $12 for ages 13 and older and $6 for ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and younger eat free. Discount prices are available online.

Tickets can also be purchased at the festival; prices are then $15 for ages 13 and older or $8 for ages 6-12. 

For more information about the Maple Syrup Festival or to register for the breakfast, visit, call 618-453-1121 or email

Sponsors of the 2018 Maple Syrup Festival include River Radio of Southern Illinois, Paul Melzer of Countywide Insurance in Murphysboro and the SIU Credit Union.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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