ITHACA, N.Y. — Learn about every stage of maple syrup production this weekend at the annual Maple Fest at Cayuga Nature Center. See how trees are tapped, sap is boiled and taste local maple syrup on a big pancake breakfast.

The sweet annual celebration will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Cayuga Nature Center.

Maple Fest has been a tradition for more than three decades and this year will feature a pancake breakfast, live music, vendors, maple surgaring demonstrations and other educational activities. Visitors will learn the science behind maple syrup production and also the importance of the industry in New York State.

Maple Fest is being hosted as part of the New York Maple Producers Association’s Maple Weekend.

New York is the No. 2 producer of maple syrup in the nation, after Vermont. In 2016, New York produced about 707,000 gallons of maple syrup, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. New York’s maple production made up about 16.8 percent of the national total last year.

Maple Fest will not be impacted by the snow, organizers said Wednesday. However, the snow will mean parking along the nature center driveway, which is usually available, will be limited. There will be the usual Gadabout bus shuttle from the center’s Bee Yard parking lot on Houghton Road to the Lodge.

Cayuga Nature Center also recommends carpooling as an eco-friendly option through Finger Lakes Rideshare or Zimride.

There will be musical performances by Technicolor Trailer Park (Folk), DnT (Folk), Bittersweet (Bluegrass), Dave Richman and Paul Fairbanks (Rock and Blues) and Crow Weaver (Folk).

The pancake breakfast will be served all day between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors who opt for the pancake breakfast will get New Hope Mills pancakes, apple crisp made with apples donated by Cornell Orchards, coffee donated by Copper Horse Coffee, sausage links and maple syrup from Maple Land Farms, which is based in Salem,  New York.

A variety of local vendors will be coming to display and sell products, including Sapsquatch Pure Maple Syrup, Copper Horse Coffee, Cayuga Lake Creamery Ice Cream, Rainbow Crow Wire Jewelry and Ithaca Family Chiropractic.

The festival will also feature activities, including special animal programs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days. On Saturday only at noon, Dr. Brian Chabot, Professor Emeritus (Cornell University), will lead a walking tour along the Nature Center’s maple trail that will focus on the history, biology and technology of maple sugar production and the impacts of climate change.

Event details


  • Regular admission is $12 for adults, $7 for seniors, students or youth (ages 4-17) and $35 for a family of up to five people
  • Member admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, students or youth, and $25 for a family of up to five people.
  • Admission for children ages 3 and younger is free.
  • For families who are members of the YNAP Community Accessibility Program, admission is free.

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19.

Where: Cayuga Nature Center, 1420 Taughannock Blvd., Ithaca.

All proceeds will benefit the Nature Center’s education and outreach programs.

For a complete list of activities, vendors, and performers, visit or contact (607) 273-6623 x15. Maple Fest 2017 is presented with community support from BorgWarner.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.