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Sap-happy festival goers to gorge on maple syrup

By Jessica Jelinek
On February 28, 2014

Oxford residents are in for a sweet treat in early March for Hueston Woods' 48th annual Maple Syrup Festival. Visitors will be treated to a free tour of the designated State Nature Preserve while learning about the history and skill of maple syrup production.

The day will begin at 8 a.m. in the Hueston Woods Lodge. Before starting their tour, visitors will get the chance to fuel up with a pancake breakfast. The breakfast costs $6 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under.

Although maple syrup will be served at the breakfast, it will not be coming straight from the trees of Hueston Wood's.

"[Maple syrup production] is a very labor-intensive process," Park Naturalist Amanda Dolten said. "It would taken dozens of workers working around the clock for three to four weeks if we were to serve our own maple syrup."

Dolten later explained it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Nevertheless, visitors will still be able to taste small samples of Hueston Woods' maple syrup after their tour at noon.

"Everyone loads on the wagons and we drive down Brown road into our Big Woods lot where we unload," Dolten said. "The visitors get to walk along the trail and learn the various stages of maple syrup production along with its history."

Last year, the festival had a turnout of 4,000 people. Among these visitors were families, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and some students from Miami University. Dolten, who is working towards her masters at Miami, encouraged all fellow RedHawks to come and join the festival.

"I've been to Hueston Woods before but I've never heard about the Maple Syrup Festival," Third Year Student Collin Stransky said. "It sounds like a pretty unique event and I'm sure my friends and I will check it out."

"Hueston Woods is a very unique state park, it's the largest uncut forest in Ohio," Dolten said. "For Miami Students, to have the opportunity that's right in your backyard to walk through a forest that's never been cut down is very rare."

The festival will go from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 1, 2, 8 and 9.

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