GREENVILLE – On March 7, Darke County Parks hosted its annual Maple Sugarin’ at the Prairie Festival in conjunction the Friends of the Darke County Parks Waffle Breakfast. Around 640 people enjoyed the sausage and endless waffle breakfast with coffee, tea, juice, or milk.
This was a record-breaking year, with people lined up through the entire duration of the event. Fifty volunteers assisted with the waffle breakfast and festival, making waffles, serving, bussing tables, taking tickets, staffing the sugar shack, and much, much more. Roger Van Frank, director of the park district said, “I am continuously pleased with this event. I enjoy listening to the cabin fever stories as friends and neighbors reunite after the long winter.”
Throughout the breakfast, park naturalists led tours illustrating the science, history, and process of making maple syrup, culminating in a stop at the sugar shack where visitors could see maple sap boiling down to syrup. Nearly 200 people participated in the sugarbush tours this year.
A backyard sugaring display also illustrated the process on a much smaller scale. Staff and volunteers were delighted to see such a large crowd venture out to enjoy the beautiful, sunny weather and to learn more about Ohio’s cultural heritage. After the tour, everyone was encouraged to meander down the trail to the blacksmith shop and log house where historical volunteers were treating callers to a taste of history with samples of onion pie, beef tongue, and life on the frontier.
Throughout the sugaring season volunteers collected around 3,000 gallons of sap from two private locations and boiled that down to over 300 pints of syrup. Before the festival, about 200 school children also visited the park to learn about this sweet treat and even sample a little of it.
The Park District and Friends thanks the following business for their donations: the New Madison Kiwanis Club for the use of their sausage trailer and club members to cook sausage, The Butcher Block and Smokehouse for donating the delicious sausage for the fourth year straight, Historical Bear’s Mill for the Boston Stoker’s coffee, and KitchenAid for their donation of waffle makers in 2015 which have continued to allow the making of the waffles so much easier and faster.
Also, a huge thank you to all of the generous volunteers that donated supplies for the breakfast and log house samples. The Friends wish to extend apologies for the delay near the end of the breakfast when they ran out of sausage briefly. It was a huge success!
The Darke County Park District thanks the volunteers who donated countless hours helping with collecting and boiling sap, the waffle breakfast, helping with the school groups, and doing historical interpretation.