March is an especially sweet time of year and has been dubbed Michigan Maple Syrup Month. All over the state, you can find maple syrup festivals, tours, producers, and parks all dedicated to the sweet stuff.
Do you love dousing your pancakes, French toast, or waffles in a sea of sweet maple syrup? Do you find yourself saving a piece of maple candy or going wild when you bite into a maple-glazed doughnut?
If you love maple syrup — and let’s be honest, it’s hard to deny how good and sticky it is — you should hit the road for an adventure. If you’ve ever wondered how maple syrup is made, you’re in luck. Springtime is Michigan’s time to shine when it comes to all things maple syrup.
Maple syrup production in the Mitten State can be dependent on late February and early March weather. But, when conditions are right, the reward of sap from maple trees is plentiful.
Michigan Maple Weekends
If you love all things maple syrup, check out Michigan Maple Weekends. These are three weekends in March held by the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, and they’re divided by region:
MICHIGAN MAPLE WEEKEND 2023
- Southern Lower Michigan: 3/18-3/19/2023
- Northern Lower Michigan: 3/25-3/26/2023
- Upper Peninsula Michigan: 4/1-4/2/2023
These weekends are a chance to meet maple syrup makers and watch them work their magic in a Michigan maple sugar bush. You can watch maple sugaring, support local businesses, and even sample some treats, such as maple candy.
Check out this interactive map:
Michigan Maple Syrup Festivals
If you search for “maple syrup festivals Michigan,” there are a lot of them. No matter where you are in Michigan, it seems you’re never too far from a fun festival that’s dedicated to all things syrup.
Vermontville’s Maple Syrup Festival
The festival is more than 70 years old and is always held during the last weekend in April. It offers something for everyone — a petting zoo, a princess pageant, a pancake derby, arm wrestling, arts and crafts, and Mid-America rides, among other activities.
Of course, you’ll also find plenty of syrup products. Syrup producers are located throughout the festival, offering goodies like candy, syrup cotton candy, and maple creme. The American Legion there offers pancakes with real maple syrup as well.
Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival
Around the same time, visit Shepherd Michigan for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival. The earliest festival here was held in 1958, when volunteers gathered sap and held a community-wide pancake dinner.
Since then, the tradition continues on thanks to the Sugar Bush, which produces syrup. The Sugar Bush started as a volunteer project in the late 1950s and has grown into an annual spot for producing syrup. The maples lining the streets of Shepherd are tapped with a few thousand pails and spiles.
The sap collected is evaporated to the appropriate sugar content in the Sugar Bush building. All the syrup for pancakes, candy, and other treats is produced there.
In some circles, Shepherd is known as the “Sweetest Little Town Anywhere Around,” and it’s not hard to see why. Not only does the festival offer a look at the syrup-making process, but there’s plenty of scrumptious food.
The festival is known for its pancake, sausage, and syrup meals. Hundreds of gallons of syrup and more than a ton of sausage are prepared for the three-day extravaganza.
If you’re looking to get some exercise after trying some delicious and fresh maple syrup goodies, sign up for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival 5K. There are a variety of races and divisions for all age groups.
Michigan Maple Festival
Hosted by Maple Row Sugarhouse, the Michigan Maple Festival in Jones has everything you love about maple syrup. Touted as the premier maple syrup festival in the Mitten State, it’s held over two weekends in mid to late March.
You can purchase tickets in advance for the maple breakfast — unlimited Sugarhouse pancakes, one breakfast sausage, and your choice of coffee, orange juice, or water. You can get extra sausage for an additional charge.
The breakfast isn’t the only food available, though. You can also purchase a wide range of maple products — brats, baked beans, candy, cheesecake, cotton candy, cookies, doughnuts, hot dogs, ice cream, pulled pork, and seasoned potato fries, among other items.
Additionally, this festive maple event is full of activities. You could take a tour of the Sugarhouse, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, and visit the animals at the petting farm. There are even several contests to participate in, such as a talent show, coloring contest, and pancake-eating contest.
Other Maple Syrup Festivals in Michigan
In early March, head to West Michigan and Kalamazoo for the Kalamazoo Nature Center Maple Sugar Festival. This annual event has been held since 1966 and includes a pancake breakfast and guided tours of the syrup-making process. The weekend also provides kids crafting, wagon rides, an immersive timeline of maple sugaring, and hiking.
In mid-March, in Lansing, you can check out the Fenner Nature Center Maple Syrup Festival. This one-day event is all about Michigan’s liquid gold. What will you find here? You can take part in an all-you-can-eat pancake event, plenty of sweet maple treats, and demonstrations.
If your family loves history, check out the Old-Time Maple Sugar Festival in Chelsea. You’ll learn plenty of history, which includes a short film about maple syrup. Also, you can see antique syrup-making equipment on display and watch how sap is collected and eventually turned into syrup on a guided walk.
And don’t miss a stop in Hanover for the Hanover Horton Area Historical Society Maple Syrup Festival. You can not only nosh on a pancake breakfast but also see how sap is collected. There are lumberjacking demonstrations too.
Michigan Maple Sugaring Events
Along with all the maple syrup festivals in Michigan, there are lots of tours where you can see and learn about maple syrup up close.
Maple Sugaring in Your Backyard
At the Maple Sugaring in Your Backyard event in Farmington Hills, you’ll learn the basics of maple syrup, including how to identify and select the perfect maple tree. You’ll also learn about sap collection and the boiling process.
Maple Sugaring at Wolcott Mill Metropark
Wolcott Mill Metropark in Ray is a great place to learn the ins and outs of syrup-making. You’ll not only identify and tap maple trees but also see a wood-fired evaporator up close and learn exactly how maple sap is turned into maple syrup.
After you’re done watching, you’ll get to taste-test the syrup and get a sweet treat as well. You can even buy kits to try your hand at making syrup at home.
Maple Sugaring Through the Ages
In Oakwoods Metropark in Flat Rock, you can check out Maple Sugaring Through the Ages. It starts by learning about the history of maple sugaring and how maple trees helped early Americans. You’ll get a sweet taste of pure maple syrup too.
Once you’ve had a history lesson indoors, you’ll head outside to one of three different sugaring camps. There, you can see how maple sap is collected and processed.
Indian Springs Maple Sugaring
Another fun park to visit for maple sugaring is Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake. You’ll learn all about how cold nights and warm days make the perfect conditions for maple sap.
You’ll also get to do some taste-testing as you take a 1-mile walk around the facilities. You’ll learn plenty of interesting facts and see just for yourself how maple sap is turned into maple sugar.
MSU Tollgate Farm Maple Tapping and Pancake Feast
If you’re looking for a day of family fun, you can’t go wrong with the MSU Tollgate Farm Maple Tapping and Pancake Feast. If you’re a parent of young kids, this is the perfect opportunity for some interactivity and good food.
This event begins with a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, cocoa, and coffee. Then, it’s followed by a hay wagon ride to the farm’s sugarbush. Once there, your little ones can try their hand at tree tapping, watch sap get cooked into syrup, and see draft horses go to work.
If you want to take advantage of syrup season and find a family activity, this is one you absolutely must attend.
More Michigan Maple Syrup Festivals, Events, and Tours
- Making Maple Syrup Tours at Maybury Farm (Northville)
- Journey to the Sugar Bush at Hudson Mills Metropark (Dexter)
- Maple Syrup Time at Stage Nature Center (Troy)
- Chippewa Nature Center Maple Syrup Day (Midland)
- For-Mar Nature Preserve Maple Syrup Festival (Burton)
- Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center Maple Syrup Festival (Shelby Township)
- A Day in the Sugarbush at EL Johnson Nature Center (Bloomfield Hills)
- Blandford Nature Center: Multiple Sugaring Events (Grand Rapids)
- Maple Syrup Open House at WK Kellogg Experimental Forest (Augusta)
- Maple’s Sweet Story at Kensington Metropark (Milford)
- Maple Sugaring at Stony Creek Metropark (Shelby Township)
- Making Maple Syrup at Bloomer Park (Rochester Hills)
- Maple Sugaring at Red Oaks Nature Center (Madison Heights)
- Maple Sugaring at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve (Rochester)
- Magical Maples at Red Oaks Nature Center (Madison Heights)
- Maple Sugaring at Wint Nature Center (Clarkston)
- Sap to Syrup Pancake Breakfast at Van Hoosen Museum (Rochester Hills)
- From Sap to Syrup at Wint Nature Center (Clarkston)
- Maple Syrup Day at Chippewa Nature Center (Midland)
- Maple Syrup Basics at Robert Williams Nature and Historical Learning Center (Davison)
- Alcona FFA Maple Syrup Celebration Day (Lincoln)
- Maple Day at Grass River Natural Area (Bellaire)
Enjoy Maple Syrup Time in Michigan
If you’ve ever wondered where are maple syrup festivals in Michigan, the answer is simple: They’re everywhere. As you can see, you don’t have to travel far and wide to find a maple syrup producer or event.
If you search online for “maple syrup festival Michigan,” you’re likely to find one close by. So, if you’re looking to experience the best that Michigan has to offer, head to a maple syrup festival or maple sugaring event this March or April.
You’ll get a taste of sweet maple syrup from the source, see how it’s made up close, and sample other delicious maple goodies. Is there anything better than that?