The Lancaster Maple Tapping Festival offers Fairfield County residents the chance to watch demonstrations of maple tapping and learn more about the history of maple syrup. After the syrup has been tapped, attendees enjoy a pancake breakfast and purchase goods from local vendors.
“It’s based around the pancake breakfast because it’s a fundraiser for Lancaster Parks,” says Alley Park staffer Trina Thorton. “But we will also have our Sugar Shack open, with outdoor education staff members explaining the process of maple tapping.”
Something for Everyone
The event also features different stations set up depicting the maple tapping process throughout history. The display begins with the way Native Americans tapped trees and continues with the methods the pioneers used. Additionally, it showcases different materials used for maple tapping through the years, such as metal and plastic.
After attendees have learned about the tapping process, they can sample goods from local vendors, including maple-flavored kettle corn.
The Maple Tapping Festival is typically a popular event, bringing in around 600 people each year. Thorton thinks the time of year of the festival has a lot to do with attendance, as people are hoping to get outside as the weather breaks. And it is something everyone can enjoy.
“Who doesn’t like pancakes and maple syrup?” Thorton says.
The History of the Festival
The event began in 1985, before the park had a nature center. Back then, staffers tapped trees the old-fashioned way and boiled the sap. At that time, the festival drew close to 150 people, compared to the close to 600 now.
Lancaster Parks and Recreation Supervisor Steve Conrad says that although things may have changed over time, the tradition of the Maple Tapping Festival remains the same.
“Things have changed and modernized, but it’s always been our first big event of the year.”