The Maple Syrup Festival, a popular SIU event held each February at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, is taking a hiatus in 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent years, the festival has expanded to include a vendor fair, demonstrations, music and numerous other activities in addition to tapping trees to obtain the maple sap and showing how it's boiled to produce homemade maple syrup. And of course, there's a breakfast of sausage and pancakes topped with homemade syrup.
The event's popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years, according to JD Tanner, director of Touch of Nature, with last year's attendance hitting a record 1,300. After much consideration, Tanner said, organizers concluded there was no way to continue the tradition this year.
However, plans are already in the works to make the 2022 festival bigger and better than ever, Tanner said, including expanding the two-day event to offer an overnight option.