The tapping of maple trees is a sign that winter is winding down in western New York and the sweetest time of the year — maple sugaring season — is at hand.
At Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, visitors can join the celebration during the Maple Sugar Festival and Pancake Breakfast. The Maple Sugar Soiree provides a twist on happy hour with maple-themed food and drinks, dancing, music, games, and a look at the modern sugarhouse in action.
Coinciding with the state’s Maple Weekends, the Maple Sugar Festival and Pancake Breakfast is scheduled for March 21-22 and 28-29. Guests can explore the Maple History Trail, where costumed interpreters demonstrate how tree-tapping and sap-collecting methods evolved from the 19th century to today, and give tapping a try for themselves.
In the modern sugarhouse, the evaporator demonstrates how sap is made into maple syrup. Guests can sample the chilly, taffy-like treat “sugar on snow,” and purchase maple popcorn, maple cotton candy, maple cream and the syrup that is produced on-site.
Haudenosaunee storytellers will share tales about early settlers in western New York, who learned about Native American sap-collecting techniques. The Historic Village will share maple-inspired food samples from the historic kitchens and host a Cooking with Maple contest open to all with youth and adult categories. Demonstrations will highlight crafts and trades like coopering, blacksmithing and candle-making. Lunch will be available for purchase in the Hosmer’s Inn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests can round out the day with games like Flapjack Flip and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.
Children ages 12 and younger can attend for free when adults purchase tickets in advance. At the door, the price for kids rises to $5. Breakfast tickets are $12 for ages 13 and older, $10 for ages 3-12, and free for ages 2 and younger.
On April 4, the Night at the Museum series will kick off with a celebration of all things maple at the annual Maple Sugar Soiree from 6 to 9 p.m. The museum will toast the end of the maple season with a party that gives visitors a chance to see the sugarhouse. This indoor/outdoor celebration features live music and contra-style folk dancing, with members of the Flint Hill Dancers joining the fun in 19th-century period costume.
World-champion lumberjack Dave Jewett, of Pittsford, will demonstrate his chainsaw carving skills. Trivia games, s’mores around the bonfire and drink tastings from local craft beverage makers like Flying Bison and Katboocha round out this night of festivities.
Tickets include themed hors d’oeuvres and one drink coupon. Admission is $20-$25 in advance, $25-$30 at the door. The event is for ages 21 and older.