Dive into fresh pancakes covered in locally sourced maple syrup and sample some unusual maple-syrup concoctions on March 24-25 as Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids marks the 35th anniversary of the Maple Syrup Festival. From 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day, the event will feature unique products for sale, including Maple Fest beer by Iowa Brewing Company as well as maple ice cream by Dan & Debbie’s Creamery, both made with real maple syrup from the Nature Center.
The Maple Syrup Festival was started in 1984 by Rich Patterson, executive director of ICNC from 1979-2013, to kick off the maple sap harvest and allow the community to taste real maple syrup made at the Nature Center. Unlike many community events, the Maple Syrup Festival has grown steadily in popularity over the years, drawing 3,000 attendees in 2017 for the first year in the organization’s Amazing Space building.
“Maple syruping has a classic, enduring appeal,” says Lindsey Flannery, ICNC Marketing and Development Manager. “The festival has become a family tradition for many in our community. Plus, who doesn’t love eating real maple syrup?”
The Maple Syrup Festival features a pancake and sausage breakfast with real maple syrup made on-site, along with live syrup-making demonstrations in the Nature Center’s Sugar House, educational displays showing how syrup was made by early and native Americans, and live music to enjoy during breakfast. A shuttle will bring attendees between breakfast at Amazing Space and additional educational demonstrations at the Nature Center barn. Parking is available in both parking lots and on the north side of Otis Road.
Musician schedule is as follows: Saturday 8–10 a.m.: Peter Hart and friends (jazz); Saturday 10:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Riverbottom Ramblers (bluegrass); Sunday 8-10 a.m.: Denny Redmond and friends (jazz); Sunday 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Scott Engledow (solo acoustic guitar).
Advance tickets cost $8 adults, $4 children ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under. At the door, tickets cost $10 adults, $5 children ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and under. Advance tickets can be purchased at indiancreeknaturecenter.org or by calling (319) 362-0664.
Located in Cedar Rapids, Indian Creek Nature Center is Iowa’s first and only privately owned and operated nonprofit nature center. With 500 acres of land under its management, the Nature Center hosts thousands of visitors each year for nature-based programs and activities. The mission of the Indian Creek Nature Center is to promote a sustainable future by nurturing individuals through environmental education, providing leadership in land protection and restoration, and encouraging responsible interaction with nature.