2024 Maple Syrup Festivals and Events in Michigan

Food & Drink, Michigan

As the spring days get longer and our thoughts turn toward the warmer weather, Michiganders head into the woods to participate in the state’s oldest agricultural activity—tapping for maple tree sap to create a sweet treat or two during maple syrup season. Maple Syrup Festivals in Michigan are a time-honored spring tradition. So grab your sap buckets and take them to the woods!

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 Michigan Maple Syrup Weekends

This year, spread throughout Michigan, members of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association will participate in this year’s Annual Michigan Maple Syrup Weekends from mid-March through early April throughout both peninsulas. The Michigan Maple Syrup Association events include: 

Southern Lower: March 23-24 

Northern Lower: March 30-31 

Upper Peninsula: April 6-7 

Additional events scheduled for the last full weekend of April include the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival (April 26-28) and the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival (April 25-28).

Sap Buckets Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association
Sap Buckets Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association

An annual maple syrup festival or event makes a great family weekend activity. Each farm offers various family-friendly activities that allow you to see how farmers harvest maple sap, boil it down, and turn it into maple syrup. In addition, many farms offer tours that include tree tapping demonstrations, product samples, recipes that include maple syrup as an ingredient, creating magical maple dishes, and local maple syrup products for purchase.

You’ll find a map of the farms participating in Michigan Maple Weekend.

Piper’s Pro Planning: Be sure to wear boots, as the farms may still be muddy and snowy this time of year. 

Maple Syrup Candy Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association
Maple Syrup Candy Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association

Other Maple Products

Of course, you can enjoy more than just maple syrup. Maple syrup producers also make candy, ice cream, and other sweet treats with their bounty. Even Michigan wineries, breweries, and distilleries craft beverages with maple sap or syrup for unique seasonal offerings.

One example from Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson is the award-winning Annie’s Mapleshine. They sweeten their maple sap wine with maple syrup and age it in bourbon barrels. The wine is smooth and rich, with vanilla crème brûlée, pecan, and lemon curd flavors.

More Maple Syrup Festivals and Events in Michigan

Here are some of the best additional Michigan maple syrup festivals and events you’ll find throughout Michigan during maple syrup season.

Signage at the Entrance to Fenner Nature Center
Fenner Nature Center in Lansing, Michigan

Central Michigan

Fenner Nature Center

Fenner Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Festival is on March 23, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The festival will feature their Flapjacks for Fenner’s Fundraiser. The event will include the Guinness World Record for Flapjack Flippers. Chris Cakes will serve up pancakes with high-flying antics and a side of maple syrup. Every ticket for the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast Flapjacks for Fenner supports Fenner Nature Center. Also, try some of the ever-popular maple syrup cotton candy.

West Michigan

Kalamazoo Nature Center

Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Maple Sugar Festival is on Saturday, March 9, 2024. In addition to tours of the syrup-making process, they offer so many family activities that you’ll want to check out their website for a complete list. They have an all-day pancake breakfast and Animal Ambassador presentations. You’ll hear live music from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They’ll even have ice cream for dessert with real maple syrup!

I love the fact that they offer tours called Rollers and Strollers. These tours are shorter maple sugaring tours for those with limited mobility or small children. These tours are 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Southeast Michigan

Farmington Hills

Heritage Park in Farmington Hills will offer maple sugaring programs on March 3 and 17. They have four time slots each day to choose from, and you must pre-register. Slots fill up fast.

The program will take you through creating real maple syrup, from selecting a maple tree to sap collection to turning the sap into syrup. You’ll receive a maple sweet treat at the end of the demonstration. The festival will have maple products available for purchase.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

These Metroparks offer self-guided maple syrup tours. To take a self-guided hike, look for the sign marking the trailhead and then hike until the next trail stop. Scan the QR codes at each stop and learn more about maple syrup from your smartphone. Self-guided hikes are available for the entire month of March at these Metroparks.

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

Check out their event schedule here. You need to pre-register by 4:00 p.m. the day before the event.

Sap Pails Photo Courtesy of Michigan Maple Syrup Association
Sap Pails Photo Courtesy of Michigan Maple Syrup Association

Background on Michigan’s Maple Syrup Production

As we get more sunshine and longer days, the temperatures increase in the spring, and Michigan’s sugar maple trees release liquid gold – the transparent sap producers boil down into delicious maple syrup. The process of making maple syrup dates to the early Native Americans, long before Michigan became a state.

With a slight winter warm-up in the first few days of February 2024, some makers have harvested sap and bottled limited syrup. Weather predictions expect a return to typical temperatures by mid-February, continuing through early to mid-March. The weather may extend the sugaring season and lead to another year of record volume.

In 2023, Michigan maple syrup producers collectively had a banner year of production with 195,000 gallons of sap collected, up 7,000 gallons from the previous year. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, this matched 2019 when the state hit a record. Remember, one gallon of syrup requires 40 gallons of clear sap. The cumulative amount of harvested sap last year exceeded 7.8 million gallons.

Michigan Ranks Fifth

Michigan ranks Number 5 in the United States for maple syrup production. Over the past 13 years, Michigan has produced over 1.777 million gallons of syrup, an average of 136,000 gallons per year. Syrup production has had an economic impact of $6.975 million in 2023, up slightly from $6.945 million in 2021. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, maple sugaring contributes $104.7 billion to agricultural industries and $24 billion to the tourism industries in Pure Michigan.

Because of its high sugar content, approximately two percent, the sugar maple is the preferred tree to tap for sap to make syrup. However, black maple, red maple, silver maple, and ash-leafed maple, each with a sugar content of approximately one percent, can also be tapped to produce syrup. The sugar maple is Michigan’s most common tree species, and Michigan has about five million acres of northern hardwood forests where they grow. Some Canadian provinces and New England states are recognized as leaders in the maple sugaring industry. Michigan has over three times the number of sugar maples than Quebec or Vermont. That means Michigan has a vast growth potential. Currently, Michigan uses less than one percent of its potential maple resources.

Depending on the soil content, sap changes from region to region and farm to farm. The area’s climate and tree species also play a role in the maple syrup industry, meaning flavor profiles vary even within the same state, depending on the region. So, for example, Michigan maple syrup will taste different from Vermont maple syrup.

For more information on Michigan festivals, check out this article on Traverse City, Michigan: Cherry Capital of the World. This article might convince you to visit the home of the National Cherry Festival.

Health Benefits of Maple Syrup

Fat-free maple syrup has 50 calories per tablespoon with no additives, no added coloring, and or preservatives. Maple syrup is one of nature’s most healthful foods. It has many minerals per tablespoon:

  • 35 milligrams of potassium
  • 20 milligrams of calcium
  •  2 milligrams of phosphorus
  •  2 milligrams of sodium
  • .2 milligrams of iron

Fun Facts about Pure Michigan Maple Syrup 

  • In 2023, the total number of Michigan maple taps was 590,000, and the syrup yield was 0.330 gallons per tap.
  • The United States’ maple syrup production for 2022 was 5.03 million, an increase of 35% over 2021.
  • Michigan’s average maple syrup production is about 91,000 gallons, equating to more than 3.64 million gallons of sap harvested annually.
  • Michigan has an estimated 500 commercial maple syrup producers and approximately 2,000 additional hobby or home-use producers.
  • Michigan law requires maple syrup processors to have licenses.
  • Producers use only about one percent of Michigan’s maple forest resource in producing maple syrup.
  • Michigan’s first farm crop harvested annually is maple sap – beginning in February in the southern counties and ending in April in the Upper Peninsula.

Pin this to your favorite Michigan Pinterest Board!

Amy Piper
Amy Piper

While Piper is a lifelong Michigander, she’s had adventures worldwide. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogota (working late), gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay (wrong visa), and US Marshals announced her seat number on a plane while looking for a murder suspect (she’d traded seats). It’s always an adventure! She even finds exciting activities in her home state of Michigan, where she lives in Lansing with her husband, Ross Dingman, her daughter, Alexis, and two granddaughters.

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7 Comments

  1. alexa meisler

    I never thought of Michigan as a Maple Syrup location. Yum! It sounds so fun to check out a few festivals.

    Reply
  2. Heather

    I had no idea there were maple syrup festivals in Michigan! I absolutely LOVE maple syrup and ALL goodies I can find made with/of it. For me, that is a reason in and of itself to visit Michigan. Are any of them near or occurring during the tulip festival in Holland? That is another bucket list item!

    Reply
    • Piper

      While you’ll find some near Holland, the timing is different for each festival. The Maple Festivals generally take place in March, while you’ll find some in April in northern Michigan. The Tulip Time festival is the first two weekends in May and too late for the Maple Festivals. If you go to Holland’s Tulip Festival called Tulip Time, I’m sure you could find some Michigan Maple syrup though.

      Reply
  3. Darla G

    Pure maple syrup is a real treat. It’s great that there are so many ways to get the good stuff in Michigan!

    Reply
    • Piper

      I was even surprised about the maple cotton candy.

      Reply
  4. Ivan

    That’s a lot of festivals in one state to celebrate the maple syrup! I wish I was closer to attend, will sell soul for anything sweet 🙂

    Reply
    • Piper

      LOL We have just been complaining about how much sugar my 4-year-old granddaughter had today!

      Reply

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Welcome to Follow the Piper! Discover interesting destinations, and practical planning tips for packing more travel into your everyday life.

Our founder and author, Amy Piper, is a freelance travel writer, blogger, photographer, and author specializing in luxury and multi-generational travel. She is a native Michigander who travels through the lens of a food lover and has been to 41 countries and 45 states.

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