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August 20, 2014, 10:31 am

Maple Sugar Day on horizon

The Wissahickon Environmental Center, located at 300 W. Northwestern Ave., will host their annual Maple Sugar Day on Forbidden Drive event on Feb. 23 on Forbidden Drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"We have been hosting a public event, celebrating our Maple Sugaring season for over 15 years," said Trish Fries, the director of the Wissahickon Environment Center.

Organizing the event for the 11th year, Fries said it is usually held one Saturday out of the year, near the end of February.

For the day, there are plans to feature 20 sugar maple trees in the immediate area of the center.

"Beginning in [the middle of] February through March, we offer school field trips for the students to learn how these trees produce maple sap, which will boil down to turn into syrup," Fries said.

Each year, Maple Sugar Day on Forbidden Drive draws in between 500 to 700 people, so that the public can learn about the process of making maple syrup. During the day, trips are made to the maple trees so the process can be further explained. Participants are also able to sample the sap that comes out of the trees.

"[We] let children help is drill a hole in the tree, tap in the 'spile' and hang the bucket on the tree," Fries said. "We have an outdoor stove set up, where we cook the sap, boiling it throughout the day [and] it usually cook down to syrup by the end of the day."

To add to the festivities of the day, staff are making maple candy, where participants can try the different types of syrup to see if they can tell the difference between pancake syrup and authentic syrup. Pennsylvania maple syrup and candy will put be up for sale throughout the day.

"This is a great event for families to attend," Fries said. "We gear our activities and information to both children and adults. This event is very unique because we don't usually think of producing maple syrup in Pennsylvania."

For more information about this event, visit the center's website at www.fow.org, or call (215) 685-9285.