Maple Syrup Festival planned at SIU’s Touch of Nature Center

Maple syrup really does come from trees and discovering how that happens and tasting fresh maple syrup is the highlight of  Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s annual Maple Syrup Festival and Pancake Breakfast, which is set for Feb. 22-23 at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center near Carbondale.

This year’s festival hours have expanded and will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The two-day event features activities for all ages, vendors, music, demonstrations and the popular breakfast with pancakes and homemade maple syrup.

While there is a cost for the breakfast, the festival is free.

The day begins with the feature event, the breakfast of homemade pancakes topped with maple syrup harvested at Touch of Nature served with local sausage from Lick Creek Pork & Beef. 

Serving is planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day and tickets are available.

Tickets can be purchased online in advance. The price is $12 for ages 13 and older or $6 for ages 6 to 12. At the door, tickets are $15 and $8, respectively. Children ages 6 and younger eat free.

Touch of Nature members can take advantage of VIP seating. Details about becoming a member are available online at

An assortment of interactive demonstrations and nature events are planned throughout the day at the Maple Syrup Festival.

There will be live "tapping” demonstrations at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. at the Lion’s Pavilion, where the art of extracting the maple sap from trees and boiling it to produce the syrup will be on display.

Lumberjack games will feature SIU forestry students demonstrating their prowess at traditional lumberjack events. 

The SIU chapter of the Society of American Foresters will be leading tree identification hikes and there will be ongoing children’s activities taking place at Morris Lodge courtesy of Graduate Student Assistants Supporting Science.

The short film “Maple Syrup Farmer” is scheduled to be shown at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the River Radio Retreat, where “Leave No Trace” techniques will be featured.

Weather permitting, visitors will be able to try your hand at Touch of Nature’s portable climbing wall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Musical entertainment also is on tap for the 2020 Maple Syrups Festival. Live performances will feature the sounds of Danny Brown, Jeremy T. McConaughey, Jermaine Bollinger, Kali Lynn, Bill Passalacqua and Greg Klyma.

Numerous regional artisans and vendors will demonstrate how they create or harvest their special wares and visitors can purchase items as well. 

Festival-goers will find alpaca yarn and goats milk products, silk embroidery, wood and pottery, nature jewelry, jellies and jams, rope-making, natural soaps and lotions, mushroom cultivation, beekeeping, hide tanning and primitive living skills.

Lunch and drinks will also be available from 1 to 4 p.m.

A complete, up-to-date schedule and additional information, as well as advance ticket registration, can be found online at, by calling 618-453-1121 or by emailing for more details.

The Gazette-Democrat

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

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