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2023 Michigan Maple Syrup Festivals, Events and Tours

tapping a michigan maple tree- michigan maple syrup festivals

Best Michigan Maple Syrup Festivals and Events 2023

It’s March, and that means you’ll find Michigan Maple Syrup festivals all over the state.

That’s because March is Maple Syrup Month and Michigan is among the top 10 maple syrup producers in the United States. That means you can find syruping events in both northern and lower Michigan as syrup production ramps up.

Also called “Sugaring Off,” the process of maple syrup production is actually quite fascinating. Most maple syrup festivals in Michigan provide an opporunty to learn about and take part in the sugaring off.

Maple festivities can be found all across the state: part winter carnival, part busy working time, it’s a unique time to celebrate nature. From festivals, maple syrup tours, and interactive demonstrations, March is full of activities fit for anyone who loves to top their pancakes with sweet local maple syrup. 

Read on for everything you need to know about maple syrup and a complete list of Michigan Maple Syrup festivals.

michigan maple syrup festivals
Boiled Maple Syrup

2023 Michigan Maple Weekend

Michigan Maple Syrup weekends are your chance to celebrate maple’s sweet taste, and learn how its gets that way…all in a single weekend! These thee weekends, held by the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, are divided by region. They provide a unique opportunity to meet maple sugar makers, and purchase some maple candy and other sweet treats!
Michigan Maple Weekends
Southern Lower Michigan: 3/18-3/19/2023
Northern Lower Michigan: 3/25-3/26/2023
Upper Peninsula Michigan: 4/1-4/2/2023

maple syrup festivals michigan
Maple tapping on a Maple tree

How is Maple Syrup Made?

Michigan Maple Syrup

Have you ever been to a maple syrup festival in Michigan and seen how pure maple syrup is made? Delicious maple syrup doesn’t come from a log cabin: it comes straight from the maple tree. 

You might know that maple syrup comes from maple tree sap, but how exactly does that sticky sap turn into our favorite breakfast syrup? The process can be broken down into six different steps that occur over the course of several days during the maple syrup season.

1. Find the Right Tree

The first step to make maple syrup is to find a maple tree. You might be surprised to discover that Michigan fall isn’t just about beautiful fall colors. The best candidates are often marked in the fall, which makes them easy to spot when it’s time to collect the sap in winter, when the trees have no leaves. 

2. Tap the Tree

Maple trees are tapped using tools such as a spile or spout. These are placed on the south side of the tree to maximize the tree’s potential sap yield. 

3. Collect the Sap

Collection containers are hung from spiles to gather up all the dripping sap. Because the sap that falls into these containers is 98% water and 2% sugar, 40 gallons of sap only makes one gallon of syrup, so the key is to collect as much sap as possible. 

4. Boil it Down

Now that the sap has been harvested, the process of transforming the sap into syrup can begin. The sap is cooked over a stovetop, fire or woodfired evaporator, where the water from the sap is boiled out, leaving behind the sweet sticky sugary syrup we know and love. 

5. Store it Safely

Maple syrup is packaged while it’s still hot, then stored at room temperature in a cool, dark space. This ensures the syrup will last for as long as possible. 

6. Eat Up!

Enjoy maple syrup on any number of breakfast foods, like pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Maple syrup also makes a great additive to salad dressings, marinades, and even drinks for sweetness. 

kid tapping maple tree- maple syrup

Best Maple Syrup Festivals in Northern Michigan 

Maple Day MapleFEST at Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire
6500 Alden Hwy Bellaire, MI 49615

When: Saturday, 3/19/23; 12-3 p.m.

Head to beautiful Bellaire, just south of Charlevoix in northern Michigan and see how maple syrup is made. Sap collected from the trees will be boiled on the evaporator at the Pavilion at the Grass River Center. 

This is a great opportunity to watch as maple syrup is made; staff will be on hand to answer questions about the process. You can also hike on the trail to see where they tap trees, hang buckets and lines, and collect the sap. The Center will be open indoors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A limited supply of Grass River Maple Syrup may be available for sale.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival
Shepherd, MI

When: 4/27-4/30/23; all weekend

The Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival started in 1958, when local volunteers tapped the trees and gathered the syrup for a giant community pancake breakfast.

Since then, the Sugar Bush, a local maple syrup producer, has provided the syrup, tapping the towering maple trees lining the streets of this charming town. They’re able to produce enough maple syrup for the entore festival and then some earning Shepherd the title of “Sweetest Little Town Anywhere Around.”

Don’t miss this fun mid-Michigan festival: not only will you get a glimpse into the Maple Syrup making process, you’ll also find plenty of sweet maple treats to sample.

With pageants, a 5K, a parade, and plenty of maple syrup to go around, this is a central Michigan springtime favorite. 

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Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival
Vermontville, MI

When: 4/28-4/30/23

Known as the “Grandaddy of them all,” this is Michigan’s original maple syrup festival is one of the best.

Held annually during the last full weekend of April, this fun festival has so much to do all weekend long! You’ll find something for everyone here: carnival rides, a talent show, arts and crafts, a flea market, two parades, a petting zoo, a princess pageant, various displays, games, free entertainment, a pancake derby, and arm wrestling.

A community staple since 1970, it has grown into a massive celebration, complete with carnival rides, parades, and plenty of maple products, from candies, crème, cotton candy, and – of course – syrup. 

PRO-TIP: Vermontville is less than an hour from Grand Rapids; be sure and plan some time to visit this fun city on the banks of the Grand River. 

Kalamazoo Nature Center Maple Sugar Festival
7000 N Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

When: 3/11/23; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For over 60 years, the Kalamazoo Nature Center has celebrated the arrival of spring with their Maple Sugar Festival. Enjoy the pancake breakfast complete with local maple syrup and take a tour to learn more about how maple sugar is harvested and transformed into your favorite breakfast topper. 

You’ll also find wagon rides, sugaring tour, craftinh, live music, DeLano Farm tours, and more.

PRO-TIP: Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, as well as some fantastic spots to check out including parks, breweries, book stores and more. 

Michigan Maple Festival
12646 Born St., Jones, MI

When: 3/18-3/19/23 and 3/25 -3/26/23; Saturdays 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Known as “Michigan’s Premiere Maple Syrup Festival,” this is your chance to celebrate your love of maple sugar. Hosted by with the Maple Row Sugarhouse over two weekends, you’ll find a delicious pancake breakfast each Saturday and Sunday, as well as other fun activities including a petting farm, photo booth, and other kids activities.

Tour the Maple Row Sugarhouse facility to see their process of turning sap into syrup, snack on plenty of maple-infused foods, enjoy the family activities available, and pick up some syrup for your own home. 

PRO-TIP: Charming St. Joseph, one of Michigan’s top beach towns and vacation destinations, is located about an hour west of Jones. It’s worth visiting this pretty Lake Michigan beachtown if you are in the area and enjoy the sweeping vistas of Lake Michigan and grab some photos of the St. Joseph lighthouse.  

Old-Time Maple Sugar Festival
Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Rd, Chelsea, MI 48118

When: 3/11/2023 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

In Chelsea, tapping maple trees is a traditional rite of spring. Here you can take a tour to see the process and learn how it’s boiled down into syrup and even learn about the way it used to be made with antique equipment on display at Waterloo Farm Museum. Maple products will also be available for purchase for those looking to take something home. 

Fenner Nature Center Maple Syrup Festival
2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910

When: 3/25/23; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Travel to the Fenner Nature Center in Lansing to find “liquid gold” in the heart of Michigan. Get up close and  personal with the process of collecting sap from sugar maple trees on location and learn about how this sap becomes some of our favorite maple products, from syrup to candy and more. 

For-Mar Nature Preserve Maple Syrup Festival
2142 N Genesee Rd, Burton, MI 48509

When: 3/18 -1/19/23; 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum is the place to learn all about the maple sugar making process.

michigan maple syrup festival

Burgess Shadbush Nature Center Maple Syrup Festival
4101 River Bends Dr, Shelby Twp, MI 48317

When: 3/19/23; 12 – 3 p.m.

Join the Burgess Shadbush Nature Center in Shelby Township as they turn their maple sap into syrup through maple sugaring. This educational opportunity will teach you all about how trees make sugar and how people throughout time have harvested it for delicious products like maple syrup.

Hanover Horton Area Historical Society Maple Syrup Festival
105 Fairview St, Hanover, MI 49241

When: 3/18/23; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Head to Hanover for a day full of all things maple syrup, starting with a pancake breakfast featuring maple syrup harvested and processed in their own Sugar Shack. Afterwards, the festival carries on throughout the day, offering plenty to do from children’s crafts, games, and activities and plenty of maple goodies for purchase.

Maple Syrup Day at Chippewa Nature Center
400 S Badour Rd, Midland, MI 48640

When: 3/18/23; 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Pancake Meal 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

At the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, Maple Syrup Day is a treat for all ages. Crafts, games, tours, demonstrations and more are available for children and plenty of maple treats will be served, including “sugar on the snow” old fashioned maple syrup taffy. Check out the pancake breakfast as well, and pre-registration is required.

PRO-TIP: Midland is home to the Tridge, a picturesque three-legged bridge spanning the confluence of three rivers. It’s a perfect spot for a hike! 

Maple Syrup Time at Stage Nature Center in Troy
6685 Coolidge Hwy, Troy, MI 48098

When: 3/4, 3/11, 3/18/23

Maple Syrup Time at the Stage Nature Center in Troy is a favorite family-friendly activity throughout March. A hike through the sugar bush will showcase the process of collecting sap from sugar maples, both modern and historic. Learn about the natural and local history of our region and the significance of maple sap for us today and throughout history. 

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More Michigan Maple Syrup Festivals, Events, Tours, and Hikes

Huron-Clinton Metroparks Maple Sugaring Month

Throughout March, Huron-Clinton Metroparks are celebrating maple sugaring month. On different days throughout the month, visitors can engage in a number of maple-oriented activities, including Pancakes to Go at both Kensington and Hudson Mills Metroparks. 

Self-Guided Maple Sugaring Hikes
Self-guided hikes start at the Interpretive Centers at the Metro Parks. Look for the sign that marks the beginning of the trail and then hike until you find each trail stop, scan the QR codes, and learn more about this seasonally sweet treat, right on your smartphone. Find them here:

  • Wolcott Mill Metropark Historic Center
  • Stony Creek Metropark Nature Center
  • Kensington Metropark Farm Center
  • Hudson Mills Metropark Activity Center
  • Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center

Pancakes to Go at Hudson Mills Metropark
When: 3/4-5, 3/11-12, 3/18-19/23; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Pancakes to Go at Kensington Farm Grill
When: 3/25 – 3/27/23; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

maple candy at a maple syrup festival

Maple Syrup Festivals and Events in Metro Detroit

Maple Madness at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve
Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, 333 N. Hill Circle, Rochester, MI 48307

Maple Sugaring at Red Oaks Nature Center
2800 Watkins Lake Road, Waterford, MI 48328

A Day in the Sugarbush at Johnson Nature Center
3325 Franklin Rd, Bloomfield Twp, MI 48302

Making Maple Syrup at Bloomer Park
345 John R Rd, Rochester, MI 48307

Sap to Syrup Pancake Breakfast at Van Hoosen Museum
1005 Van Hoosen Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48306

Other Maple Syrup Festivals Events in Michigan

Alcona FFA Maple Syrup Celebration Day
51 N Barlow Rd, Harrisville, MI 48740-9606

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What is the biggest Maple Syrup Festival in Michigan?

The biggest Maple Syrup Festival in Michigan is the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival in Vermontville, MI, held April 28 -30, 2023.