Cold day, great maple syrup tapping Saturday at Fenner

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Maple syrup season has returned, and hundreds of people celebrated Saturday at the Fenner Maple Syrup Festival in Lansing.

It was a fundraiser for Fenner Nature Center, and there was a lot to see, learn and–of course–taste.

The day started off cold, but slowly warmed up. People took turns at the different activities and bought some sweet maple syrup products.

Organizers told 6 News that Saturday actually brought perfect tree-tapping weather.

“What you’re really looking for are those days where you have freezing temperatures at night time, just above-freezing temperatures during the daytime, sunny days, so the sap is warming up and you’re getting those really good flows coming out the trees,” said Sam Ansaldi, Fenner Nature Center’s Program Director.

Overall, the warmer temperatures earlier on this March made for a shorter sap season. People at the event, however, were able to have success with their tree-tapping.

The tree-tapping process is simpler than you may imagine. Red Adams, a volunteer at the nature center, showed 6 News the process.

“Drilling into the tree until you get past the bark and into the sap wood, into the xylem and phloem,” Adams said. “And then, if you do it on a day it’s above freezing, you’ll actually start to notice the sap will drip out of the hole you just drilled. Then you’ll collect that in a vessel.”

  • Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
    Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
  • Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
    Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
  • Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
    Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
  • Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
    Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
  • Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024
    Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024

Tree-tapping was just one of the many things to do at the festival Saturday. There were maple products of all kinds, syrup-making demonstrations, and of course, all-you-can-eat pancakes.

Tanner Herald attended the festival, where he tried map root beer for the first time. Herald said he’s proud to be from a state that has great syrup options.

“I love all the different types of maple syrup you can have, and all the different flavors that it comes in,” Herald said. “Also, we know that Michigan, particularly, is really well-known for having great maple syrups. So that is really cool.”

Ansaldi said syrup has the power to bring people together.

Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024 (WLNS)
Fenner Maple Syrup Festival, March 23, 2024 (WLNS)

“It’s a way to connect communities, and a way to connect them to the land,” Ansaldi said. “If you have a generational sugar bush, or if you have a silver maple, you can get the same thing. You can tap those trees and you can be part of that legacy.”

He said the festival has been going on for almost 50 years, and it’s a great way to highlight Michigan’s heritage.

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