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National Maple Syrup Festival in Brown County, Mar. 5-6, 2016

February 7, 2016 Leave a comment
national-maple-syrup-festival-sap

National Maple Syrup Festival Tapping in southern Indiana.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Aubrey Sitzman
Brown County CVB

Maple mania has officially struck Brown County as the National Maple Syrup Festival is fast approaching! The fun, sticky, and oh so sweet Festival returns to Brown County for a second year, March 5-6, 2016.

Originating in Medora, Indiana, in 2010, the Festival moved to Brown County in 2015. Geographically, Indiana holds the southern and westernmost position in the United States’ Maple Sugar Belt meaning as winter gives way to spring the sap flows first in Indiana’s maple stands. As Indiana’s most densely forested county, Brown County is an ideal location for the National Maple Syrup Festival as it is rich in natural resources, home to a wide variety of maple trees, and reflects the pioneering essence and history of maple sugar production.

The grand celebration of all things maple, the Festival will bring together maple sugar producers and hobbyists, maple syrup connoisseurs, and visitors of all ages for a weekend full of activities and events. From live sugaring demonstrations and guided hikes to warm maple syrup flights, kids activities, a pancake breakfast, and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the National Maple Syrup Festival.

New to the 2016 Festival is Tap the Town on February 27. Taking place the weekend before the Festival, this hands-on experience provides guests with the unique opportunity to tap their own maple tree in the Village of Nashville! Tap the Town at Creekside Retreat includes a maple sugaring program with brunch beginning at 11 a.m. The event also will include a visit to Hinkle-Garton Farmstead, a commemorative bottle of pure Indiana maple syrup, and tickets to the National Maple Syrup Festival on March 5-6.

Visitors will learn the ropes of tapping before searching out the perfect tree in town. After inserting their tap, they will be able to watch firsthand as the sap begins to flow, officially kicking off Brown County’s maple festivities. Participants also will receive sap production updates on their tree and the sap collected will be used for demonstrations during the National Maple Syrup Festival. This one-of-a-kind event costs $125 per couple or $150 for a group of four. A $20 fee will be charged for each additional person after that. Tickets are available online atwww.browncounty.com/national-maple-syrup-festival.

With the sap freely flowing, maple mania will continue the following weekend at the National Maple Syrup Festival, March 5-6. This year Festival headquarters will be at the Brown County State Park. Not only will festival guests learn the basics of maple syrup and the sugaring process, they also will be able to see for themselves how it is done.

The State Park’s Lower Shelter will serve as the hub for all the maple excitement. Inside and surrounding the Lower Shelter, guests will be able to freely explore the Festival’s maple marvels. There will be live reenactments of Native American and French Colonial maple sugaring techniques, as well as modern day sugaring demonstrations. Festival-goers also will have the opportunity to attend Sap School, where they will learn from sugaring experts all there is to know about the maple biz and sugaring in general.

Kids will be able to test their sugar making skills too during Sugaring for Small Folks, a fun and interactive experience showcasing the sap to syrup process. After the kiddos have mastered maple sugaring, they can take on the Maple Syrup Heist Challenge Course, an obstacle course modeled after the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist of 2012.

Festivities also will include guided interpretive hikes along State Park trails. Groups will depart from the Lower Shelter for a leisurely stroll, where they will identify maple trees and learn their role in sugar and syrup production. Of course, there will be syrup sampling as well. For a small fee, festival-goers will be able to try a variety of syrups produced in multiple states as they dive into a warm maple syrup flight. Sponsored by Rawhide Ranch, guests will have the opportunity to create their serving tray and souvenir by branding a piece of wood.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the Festival’s Maple Market will offer maple-related merchandise, a beer and wine garden, live acoustic music, and food, all under a heated tent. There will even be a culinary competition featuring maple recipes at the Abe Martin Lodge on Saturday!

The National Maple Syrup Festival will take place on Saturday, March 5 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 6 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Weekend admission is $10; children 6 and under are free. Festival-goers can park in town and board the Maple Motor Coach for a park tour ending at the Festival gates. Minimal parking also will be available within the State Park. Tickets can be purchased online at www.browncounty.com/national-maple-syrup-festival, at the Festival gate, or in the Visitors Center.

While Festival headquarters will be buzzing with activity all weekend long, there will be plenty of maple fun going on in town as well. No maple syrup festival would be complete without pancakes, which is exactly why Chris Cakes will be serving up delicious hotcakes with a side of entertainment during the Festival’s Pancake Breakfasts on March 5 and 6. Hosted by the Brown County High School Student Council, these breakfasts are an all-you-can-eat steal. The breakfasts will be held at Brown County High School from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-18, or $30 for the entire family. Children 2 years and younger are free. Tickets are available online at www.browncounty.com/national-maple-syrup-festival or can be purchased at the door.

Guests can definitely expect to find plenty of Maple on the Menu around town too. During the Festival, some of Brown County’s finest restaurants and treat shops will be serving sweet and savory maple-infused items. Look for items that bring a unique maple twist to classic favorites, as well as truly one-of-a-kind maple creations. Participating restaurants and shops will be designated with a “Maple on the Menu” sign. Special Maple on the Menu dishes will be available for three weekends: February 26-28, March 4-6, and March 11-13.

While the National Maple Syrup Festival may end on March 6, maple festivities continue during Indiana’s first-ever Maple Weekend, March 12-13. Presented by the Indiana Maple Syrup Association and the National Maple Syrup Festival, Indiana Maple Weekend will provide guests with an exclusive look inside various sugar camps around the state. From 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, attendees will be able to see how trees are tapped, how sap gets to the sugar house, and how it becomes maple syrup and other maple products. Details about Indiana Maple Weekend can be found at www.facebook.com/IndianaMapleWeekend/.

There is no doubt about it, Brown County has been struck with maple mania. From Tap the Town and the National Maple Syrup Festival to Indiana Maple Weekend, there is definitely something sweet happening in Brown County. Come check it out for yourself. It is guaranteed to be a memorable maple experience!

More information on Brown County’s maple-related events, including tickets to Tap the Town and the National Maple Syrup Festival, are available online at www.browncounty.com/national-maple-syrup-festival or by calling 812-988-7303.

“Winter in the Woods” in Brown County, Jan. 15-17

January 9, 2016 Leave a comment
Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2011, all rights reserved.

By Aubrey Sitzman
Brown County CVB

Winter doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stay inside. Instead, shake off that cabin fever in beautiful Brown County during Winter in the Woods, January 15-17, 2016. Enjoy several activities both indoors and outside that are sure to lift your spirits and beat those winter blues.

Unwind from the holidays and get ready for a happy and prosperous new year by spending this winter in the woods. A great weekend escape, Brown County’s Winter in the Woods is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Break up the winter monotony and embrace the brisk air, scenic surroundings, and quaint charm of Brown County instead.

Spend the weekend soaking up the winter landscape outdoors during several fun events, re-energize and learn to enhance life in healthier ways, savor the local flavors, or simply relax by the fire in a cozy Brown County cabin or hotel room. Winter in the Woods has something for everyone to enjoy and is an experience that should not be missed this January.

Kick off Winter in the Woods weekend on Friday, January 15. As part of the weekend’s Warm Up From Within retreat, there will be a free Tabata class at 5:30 p.m. at the Brown County YMCA, as well as a free belly dancing class at the Abe Martin Lodge in the Brown County State Park at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Warm Up From Within will continue on both Saturday and Sunday, January 16-17, at the Abe Martin Lodge. Reflect, refresh, and re-center in the new year at this unique Winter in the Woods event. From yoga and sacred dance to art and meditative movement, Warm Up From Within is a mind, body, spirit exploration retreat that absorbs the senses, the mind, and the creative spirit. Hosted by River Light Yoga, Warm Up From Within is a great way to spend Winter in the Woods without braving the cold temperatures. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday workshops are $80, with the option to attend as many or few classes as desired. For a complete schedule of daily activities and to register, visit http://www.browncounty.com/calendar/event/warm-up-from-within.

Meanwhile, for those wanting to get out and enjoy the fresh winter air, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so. Experience Winter in the Woods firsthand during a Winter Hike in the Brown County State Park. On Saturday, January 16, hikers can travel along one of two self-guided trails through the Park, ranging in distance from 2.75 to 3.5 miles.  DNR interpreters will greet hikers with winter wildlife facts along the way and s’mores and hot chocolate will be provided by Local Boy Scout Troop 190 for a tasty hiker pick-me-up. The cost for this event is only $1 plus Park gate fees. The hike begins at 9 a.m.

Both before and after the Winter Hike, food will be served at the Little Gem Restaurant at the Abe Martin Lodge. Hikers can enjoy Breakfast with the Naturalists beginning at 7 a.m., as well as a Hiker’s Lunch Buffet from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

For those looking for a little more exhilarating winter adventure, there will be a challenging 5.2 mile trail run (or walk) along the scenic trails of the Brown County State Park. The Frosty Trails 5 Mile race, sponsored by INTIMECO Productions and Quaff ON! Brewing Company, begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 16. After the run, participants are welcome to warm up in the shelter house with food, drinks, and a fire. Register online through January 14 ($25) at www.intimeco.com/frostytrails or in person January 15-16 for $30.

Not up for a trek in the Park? Get just a taste of Winter in the Woods during the Tea-zer Hike, hosted by the Brown County Visitors Center. Meet at the Visitors Center on Saturday, January 16 at 1 p.m. for a short stroll along the Salt Creek Trail before ending at Sweetea’s Tea Shop just in time for Tea 201 at 2 p.m. Learn how drinking tea can improve your health in the new year and of course enjoy a few samples too. Attend each event separately or choose to participate in both activities together. There is no charge for the Tea-zer Hike and only a small fee of $4.95 for Tea 201.

Make a whole weekend of it and stick around on Sunday for another day of Winter in the Woods fun. Head to Trail Cache and the Dutch Oven Cookout on Sunday, January 17 beginning at 11 a.m. Join in on this exciting geocaching event, followed by some delicious food cooked over Dutch ovens outside the Trail Hobo shop in Nashville. Discover hidden Brown County gems and eat like the Pioneers at this one-of-a-kind event. The cost to participate is $5. Be sure to RSVP on the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/1669885609953742/ to reserve a spot.

For a complete Winter in the Woods experience, check out other great Brown County originals. Warm up with a locally-handcrafted drink and learn how it’s made during a Quaff N’ Brew Beer Tour at Big Woods Village or a Farm-to-Fifth Tour at Bear Wallow Distillery. Stop in for a sip or two at one of the wineries and/or tasting rooms in the county, enjoy a foot massage like none other at the Hillbilly Footwash, do some shopping in the Village, catch a movie at the Brown County Playhouse, curl up by a warm fireplace…the list goes on and on. With so much to do, Brown County’s Winter in the Woods is the perfect weekend escape.

Don’t let winter get you down. Spend it in the woods instead! Mark your calendars now for Brown County’s annual Winter in the Woods, January 15-17, and join in the fun. For more information on Winter in the Woods, please visit www.browncountywinterhike.com or call the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau at (812) 988-7303. Also, be sure to check out the Winter in the Woods Bucket List at blog.browncounty.com/winter-in-the-woods-bucket-list/ for must-do weekend activities!

Dutch Oven Diva at Brown County State Park, Mar. 7-8, 2015

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment
Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2009, all rights reserved.

By Aubrey Sitzman
Brown County CVB

As part of the 2015 National Maple Syrup Festival being held in Brown County, Ind., campfire cooking extraordinaire Lesley Tennessen, better known as the Dutch Oven Diva, will prepare sweet and savory maple-based food creations in the Brown County State Park on March 7 and 8, 2015.

Stationed around a huge stone fireplace in the Lower Shelter of the park, the Dutch Oven Diva will cook live for festival guests, who will be able to enjoy samples and experience firsthand the fine art of outdoor cooking. Using only Dutch ovens, the Diva will serve up delicious dishes all featuring maple ingredients on Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Enjoying a tasty dinner around a campfire with friends and family near is hard to beat, which is why the Dutch Oven Diva has made it her mission to share with others her talent for unconventional, outdoor cooking. Being an avid outdoors person since childhood, the Dutch Oven Diva has pursued her love of the great outdoors over the years through hiking, camping, and campfire cooking.

The Diva has also been a lifelong member of Girl Scouts, serving and teaching Girl Scouts outdoor skills. It was during her time teaching outdoor cooking to Girl Scouts that she discovered the Dutch oven. It didn’t take long for The Diva’s interest and talent to grow as she began to explore and master Dutch oven cooking.

Soon Tennessen began to get involved with Dutch oven gatherings and before she knew it, The Diva had become the face of the Midwest for Dutch oven cooking, serving in leadership positions for several Dutch oven societies. Tennessen also currently teaches classes focusing on Dutch oven cooking, outdoor skills, teamwork, and group facilitation.

The Dutch Oven Diva is a well-known star among Dutch oven circles and true queen of campfire cooking. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to witness firsthand the Diva in action at the 2015 National Maple Syrup Festival. Cooking alongside Tennessen will be fellow Dutch oven comrades, Steve Meneely and Tina Misicka.

In addition to Dutch oven cooking, festival guests will be also be able to experience the maple sap to syrup process at the Brown County State Park through live demonstrations of tree tapping and sugaring. Descendants of the Delaware and Shawnee will reenact how their ancestors made maple syrup on this land centuries ago, and nearby French Colonial reenactors will demonstrate how early settlers made it differently. Interpretive hikes will also begin at the Lower Shelter and will travel through the woods, where festival guests can see tapped trees, learn the tapping process, as well as learn to identify maple trees in the winter.

Several other activities and events will be occurring throughout the county and within the Village of Nashville as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival including a culinary competition, a dinner series, live sugaring demonstrations, a pancake breakfast, live music, children’s activities, the sale of maple-related goods and foods, and much more.

For more information on activities occurring in the Brown County State Park and elsewhere as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival, please visit nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com and be sure to make plans to attend March 5-8.