LM Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival in Salem
By Bob Burchfield, Editor
You know, one of the things I love about Indiana is the broad diversity of events. There’s always something good and interesting to do around Indy no matter what it is in which you are interested. If you want to go fancy in tux and tails, there are events for that. If you want go to the other extreme, there are events to suit your tastes, too.
One of those events is the 23rd annual Maple Syrup Festival at Leane and Michael’s Sugarbush, 321 North Garrison Hollow Road, east of Salem in Washington County, Indiana, about two hours south of Indianapolis via I-65 to the Scottsburg exit, then west. Last weekend was the first of two weekends of pancakes and maple syrup, old-fashioned games, live music, demonstrations, wagon rides, crosscut sawing, candle making, and lots more at this remote country site in the hills of southern Indiana.
The operative word in the venue’s address is “hollow.” The festival is located on a family farm down in the bottom of a hollow in Washington County. Be prepared to park on the berm of a county road and walk a long way down into the hollow to get to the festival (see photo at right). This means that you also have to walk back up out of the hollow at the end of your visit, which is not a desirable chore if you are elderly or not in good physical condition, and there is no shuttle service (handicapped parking is available on the grounds; show a staff member your handicapped sticker). Wear comfortable clothes and take a good pair of boots (hey, it’s a farm, it’s muddy).
Having said that, the Maple Syrup Festival is a lot of fun. On Saturday there were lots of kids enjoying themselves at the straw maze, the tomahawk throw, climbing Jacob’s Ladder (or not!), and even building a spillway in the creek that passes through the property (I’ll bet that made some parents happy!).
There are many exhibits and vendors. The Sugar Store offers those cute little jugs of maple syrup plus maple cotton candy and maple cream, and there’s a wide variety of merchandise for sale. And, ohhhh, that evaporator room! It’s pretty intriguing just to watch the staff members making the maple syrup with the steam rolling out of that big evaporator.
Of course, no festival worth attending would be any good without some great Hoosier food, and the Maple Syrup Festival lives up to this standard with pancakes and sausage, BBQ chicken, pork chops, pulled pork, and that amazing Waffle Boat Supreme topped with strawberries or blueberries, ice cream, whipped cream and pure maple syrup. OMG.
The Maple Syrup Festival is open for its second weekend, March 1-2, 2014, from 9 am to 5 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. There’s no parking fee or admission charge to enter the grounds, but of course you’ll want to take some money for food and any purchases (and a couple of the activities have a small charge). For more information, visit http://www.lmsugarbush.com/, or call 812-867-4491. Here are more photos from last weekend’s visit to LM Sugarbush: