A sure sign of spring, the Maple Syrup Festival is this weekend at the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids.

It’s an all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage breakfast with plenty of hand-crafted syrup. The center’s Liz Zabel says last year’s event had to be shifted to curbside due to the pandemic, so she’s hoping for a much larger turnout tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday.

“Typically, this event feeds thousands of people,” Zabel says. “We’ve already sold over a thousand tickets so, certainly we expect a bigger crowd. Surprisingly, our drive-through event last year was pretty successful. This is a beloved community event. People come out for the Maple Syrup Festival every year.”

Both days, syruping demonstrations will be taking place at the Penningroth Barn, so visitors can learn about tree tapping, historic syruping methods and peek inside the Sugar House, where syrup is made.
“We tapped over a hundred trees this year and have produced over 600 gallons of sap,” Zabel says. “It takes typically 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.”

Syrup doesn’t go bad when stored, so there are several gallons left over from last year’s drive-up event — meaning, there’s plenty of syrup to go ’round and they won’t run out this weekend.  “The Maple Syrup Festival is our signature event,” she says. “All ticket sales go toward environmental education and land restoration and protection.” This is the 39th year for the event.

Tickets are available at the gate and in advance at a discounted price online: https://indiancreeknaturecenter.org/