Contact(s): Ruth Ann Lee, DNR educator, 608-635-8112; Chrystal Seeley-Schreck, DNR educator, 608-635-8112
POYNETTE, Wis. - Free guided tours of the sugar bush, demonstrations of how to tap a maple tree for sap and how to make syrup are among the fun-filled activities planned at the annual Maple Syrup Festival at the MacKenzie Center near Poynette. The educational event for families will be held Saturday, April 2 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
The festival also features interpretative talks about how some Native Americans and pioneers made maple sugar and syrup as well as current methods used in the MacKenzie sugar bush. This year, visitors will get to explore the newly built Ciporoke (pronounced Chee-poe-doe-kay) a typical spring home used by members of the Ho-Chunk Nation in historic sugar bushes. The dwelling was built this year by representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation and volunteers and staff at the MacKenzie Center.
"This is a great way to celebrate the beginning of spring," said RuthAnn Lee, educator at the MacKenzie Center. "It is a wonderful event to learn about the Sugar Maple tree and the unique process of making maple syrup in our Wisconsin climate."
Participants will have the opportunity to watch home-made ice cream being churned with an antique engine; listen to live, old-time, country music; and take a horse-drawn wagon ride. In addition, the wildlife area, which includes animals native to Wisconsin, and the historic exhibits on property will be open.
A pancake breakfast, sponsored by Friends of MacKenzie will be served from 8 a.m. until noon at the Main Lodge. The cost is $7 for those 12 years old and older, and $5 for ages 3 through 11. Refreshments, maple products, and souvenirs will be sold by the Friends of MacKenzie. The Friends will also draw the winners for their raffle at noon.
The MacKenzie Center is located 2 miles east of Poynette on County Road CS/Q. For more information search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "MacKenzie." Maple Syrup Festival is hosted by the Friends of MacKenzie and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.