Fenner Nature Center hosts 40th annual Maple Syrup Festival

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pics 009Until Saturday afternoon, the idea of maple flavored cotton candy had never crossed the mind of Lansing resident Melinda Brown.

“I had never heard of maple syrup cotton candy, let alone how to make it,” Brown said. “It was weird to see it not pink or blue like at most festivals.”

Brown and other local residents were given the opportunity to explore maple syrup cotton candy, along with other maple syrup treats and activities at the 40th annual Fenner Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Festival. The event included activities for family members of all ages, ranging from a maple crème making demonstration to learning how to tap a tree.

The event ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and saw up to 1,000 local Lansing-area residents make their way out to Fenner Nature Center. Some of the more popular demonstrations included the tap a tree activity, all-you can eat flapjacks tent and how to make maple syrup cotton candy.

MSU student Thomas D’Ambrosio was working the event, leading the tap a tree activity. D’Ambrosio said the trees’ diameters are measured before the tapping begins, with a mathematical formula used to determine how many times it can be tapped.

“This tree is 24 (inches) about so this means we could hit this one three times,” D’Ambrosio said to a crowd of 30 attendees during a demonstration. “Twelve would mean we could only hit it once, if it was 12 inches around, and 18 would mean twice.”

Another popular destination at the event was the Flapjacks for Fenner tent. For $8, attendees had the opportunity to stuff their faces with as many pancakes as possible. The proceeds from the tent will going to the Fenner Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that manages Fenner Nature Center.

Ben Juss was one of at least 100 in the tent during the late morning rush. He said the flapjacks were his favorite part of the event because he has always enjoyed pancakes as a kid.

“Ever since I was young, I have loved the one-two punch of pancakes and syrup,” Juss said. “I remember I would have them every Sunday morning throughout my childhood.”

Juss added that the he also enjoyed learning where maple syrup comes from, crediting that as another reason why he plans to return next year.

The event had multiple sponsors including Redhead Design Studio, Greater Lansing Michigan Convention and Visitors Bureau and WLNS TV Channel 6 Lansing-Jackson.

Fenner Nature Center also had a booth in the main visitor center where attendees can learn about volunteering at the nature center and the event next year.

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