Hendricks County Parks & Recreation hosted the first half of Maple Syrup Days on Saturday at McCloud Nature Park, and an estimated 600 people took advantage of the beautiful weather to learn all about maple trees and syrup during the free, family-friendly event that takes place again on Saturday, March 10.
Visitors to the park rotated through three stations during Maple Syrup Days, learning how maple syrup has been made throughout history and how it’s made today. Guests also enjoyed the opportunity to tap a maple log themselves, take a guided hike with a naturalist, and complete a scavenger hunt for prizes.
Park naturalists and volunteers explained how to identify maple trees in the winter, the optimal time to tap maple trees, how Native Americans and Colonial Americans discovered and made maple syrup, how a modern evaporator works, and more. Additionally, Visitors could tour the Sugar Bush area, where dozens of sugar maple trees are tapped every year to retrieve the sap used to make all-natural McCloud Maple Syrup.
The sunny, warm weather also enticed guests to explore the arboretum, the Bee House, the historic truss bridge, the new boardwalk and observation deck in the wetland habitat, Big Walnut Creek, and other park amenities throughout the day.
Meanwhile, the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County – Hendricks County Parks & Recreation’s not-for-profit fundraising partner – hosted its annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser in the McCloud Nature Center, serving more than 350 people.
For a freewill donation, guests can enjoy all the pancakes they can eat, topped with McCloud Maple Syrup. Sausage links, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee are also served. Guests can reserve their family’s spot at the table at www.pfohc.org. Reservations are highly recommended, given the popularity of the event. Walk-ins are permitted as space allows.
Bottles of McCloud Maple Syrup are available for purchase at Maple Syrup Days for a $12 donation. This year’s batch sports a commemorative label celebrating McCloud Nature Park’s 15th anniversary, which was designed by naturalist Jordan Tremper.
All proceeds from the Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser go toward the development, improvement, and maintenance of McCloud Nature Park, Sodalis Nature Park, the Vandalia Trail, and the new W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park in Washington Township.
Maple Syrup Days and the Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser take place again on Saturday, March 10. The Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., while Maple Syrup Days take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Maple Syrup Days are free to attend. For more information, visit www.HendricksCountyParks.org.