Monday, March 28, 2016

Maple Sugarin’ a Success

Carolyn Hollinger and Jillian King served the delicious waffles and sausage to the hungry crowd, and Stacy Adkins kept busy washing silverware all morning.
On Saturday March 5th, Darke County Parks hosted its annual Maple Sugarin’ at the Prairie Festival in conjunction the Friends of the Darke County Parks Waffle Breakfast. Over 500 people, including volunteers and staff, enjoyed the sausage and endless waffle breakfast with coffee, tea, juice, or milk. The Friends also hosted an extremely successful bake sale of maple flavored goodies. Fifty volunteers assisted with the waffle breakfast and festival, making waffles, serving, bussing tables, taking tickets, staffing the sugar shack, and much, much more. Roger Van Frank, director of the park district said, “I am continuously pleased with the event. I enjoy listening to the cabin fever stories as friends and neighbors reunite after the long winter.”

Throughout the breakfast and into the afternoon, park staff led tours illustrating the science, history, and process of making maple syrup, culminating in a stop at the sugar shack where visitors could see maple sap boiling down to syrup. A backyard sugaring display also illustrated the process on a much smaller scale. Despite the threat of morning rain which never arrived, the park staff was very pleased with the large number of people venturing out into the damp and chilly morning to learn more about Ohio’s cultural heritage. After the tour, everyone was encouraged to meander down the trail to the blacksmith shop and log house where historical volunteers were treating callers to a taste of history with samples of onion pie, beef tongue, and life on the frontier.

Throughout the sugaring season volunteers collected about 850 gallons of sap from two private locations and boiled that down to 18 gallons of syrup. Before the festival, about 250 school children also visited the park to learn about this sweet treat and even sample a little of it.

The park district and Friends would like to thank the following business for their donations: the New Madison Kiwanis Club for the use of their sausage trailer and club members to cook sausage, The Butcher Block and Smokehouse for the discount on sausage and monetary donation, Winner’s Meats for the beef tongue cooked in the log house during the festival, and KitchenAid Experience for the new waffle irons donated last year. The Darke County Park District would also like to thank the volunteers who donated countless hours helping with collecting and boiling sap, the waffle breakfast, helping with the school groups, and doing historical interpretation.

Make sure to mark the calendar for next year’s Maple Sugarin’ at the Prairie, March 4th, 2017!

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