WILDWOOD, Mo.— The Maple Sugar Festival at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Rockwoods Reservation offers visitors the chance to discover nature at its most delicious.
The annual Rockwoods Maple Sugar Festival returns in 2018 on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is open to the whole family at no cost.
What makes winter so special for maple lovers? For about six weeks, from mid-January to the end of February, nature cooks up its own sweet delights within sugar maple trees as the sap begins to flow, ready to be tapped for making sugar and syrup.
The Rockwoods Maple Sugar Festival is an excellent opportunity for families to break free of cabin fever and learn skills to collect, boil and, create their own maple syrup or sugar while they still have several weeks of the season to try it out.
Visitors will see firsthand how Native Americans and early settlers harvested the sap—and boiled it down over an open fire to create sugar and syrup. There will also be stations that explore more modern ways of processing maple sap, and show how to do backyard maple sugaring. Guided hikes will demonstrate how to identify and tap sugar maple trees.
One of the biggest draws of the Maple Sugar Festival is the chance to try out the finished products. Tasting the sugar and syrup is always popular with attendees of all ages. Kids will especially delight in trying a pioneer favorite—sugar on snow, a toffee-like treat created when warm maple sap mixes with the cold snow.
Participants can also “earn” treats by trying their hand at a number of historic pioneer skills at the “Trials of the Times” station, like starting fire with flint and steel or cutting logs with a traditional crosscut saw. The event will also include kids’ crafts for younger children, a selfie photo booth with supplied props, food trucks, and live bluegrass music.
New this year, the festival will offer off-site parking exclusively with free shuttle service to and from the event. Parking locations will be located at Pond Elementary, 17200 Manchester Road, and the St. Louis Community College Wildwood Campus, 2645 Generations Drive. Onsite parking will be reserved only for those with disabilities.
MDC’s Rockwoods Reservation is located off Highway 109 in Wildwood. For additional information on the Maple Sugar Festival, call 636-458-2236.
To learn more about backyard maple sugaring, including step-by-step instructions, go online at https://goo.gl/a2pbjF.