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National Maple Syrup Festival in Nashville 2016

Drive through the hills of Nashville, Indiana and you can’t help but notice something: there’s a lot of trees. It’s only fitting that an area so rich in natural resources should be the site of the National Maple Syrup Festival.

You may know this festival from its Medora, Indiana roots. It began there back in 2010. But it grew. And grew. And grew. Thus prompting a 2015 move to Brown County. Interestingly enough, Brown county is both the southern and westernmost spot on the United State’s Maple Sugar Belt so, when the weather conditions are right, it flows in Indiana first.

National Maple Syrup Festival

National Maple Syrup Festival Events in Brown County 2016
National Maple Syrup Festival Events in Brown County 2016

As a part of last year’s festival goers, Kid #1 and I enjoyed the festivities. This year, it is held at Brown County State Park. It provides the perfect backdrop for an event devoted to maple trees and the sticky sweet contents inside of them.

This isn’t only a festival for maple sugar producers, hobbyists, and experts. No, this is an all-ages event with a slew of scheduled activities. This year marks the second year in Nashville and promises to be bigger and better than last year.

Yes, you will have ample opportunity to learn about the maple syrup process. Pop over to the area in and around the Lower Shelter at Brown County State Park to see live reenactments of Native American and French Colonial maple sugar demonstrations. There will also be a display of the maple sugar process that reflects today’s technology.

Maple Syrup Education

Reenactors at National Maple Syrup Festival in Nashville Indiana
Reenactors at National Maple Syrup Festival in Nashville, Indiana

Saunter into Sap School to learn the facts about maple syrup. When school is out for the day, make your way to the Sugaring for Small Folks portion of the festival. Hands-on and interactive, kids can feel like they are a part of the maple syrup process. Then, let them loose at the Sticky-Fingered Maple Syrup Challenge Course. It is an obstacle course that they have modeled after the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist of 2012 (you can read all about that sticky situation on Bloomberg Business).

After you have consumed your fair share of maple syrup related goodies, participate in a guided interpretive hike along the trails in the park. Groups will learn how to tell a maple tree from the rest of the trees and, again, learn about how the trees produce sap. Yes, there will be a tasting.

With so many Indiana wineries, it’s likely that you’ve at least heard of a wine tasting. At the Maple Syrup Festival, tasting will go in a whole new direction. This time, you can throw down a small fee to try a warm maple syrup flight featuring syrups produced in other states. Which one is your favorite? In a unique twist, sponsor Rawhide Ranch (also located in Nashville), will let participants brand a piece of wood to create a one-of-a-kind serving tray.

But more than that, you have opportunities for fun! You know there’s plenty of maple products to buy. Warm up inside a heated tent while enjoying food, live music, and a beer and wine garden. Hit the Abe Martin Lodge on Saturday for a culinary competition featuring, you guessed it, maple recipes.

More Maple Syrup Events Downtown

National Maple Syrup Festival March 2016
National Maple Syrup Festival is in March 2016

Don’t skip downtown Nashville. Take a look around and see what interesting maple-themed things are available from the local businesses. Many of the restaurants will have tasty specials while retail shops may carry unexpected items.

How do you know what small business will offer something with maple flair? Look for a maple leaf on the sign to show the limited edition special. Those food specials will run March 4-6 and March 11-13.

Mosey over to the Brown County Public Library for a Sweet Storytelling and Snow Candy event. Remember Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder? Now your kids can hear a reading from the book and then have the chance to make one of Laura’s favorite treats: snow candy. Bonus: it’s even free.

There will be an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Brown County High School both days. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-18), or $30 for a family. Children two years and younger are free.

Add the National Maple Syrup Festival and the town of Nashville to your Indiana travel itinerary for Saturday, March 5 from 9 AM – 5 PM and Sunday, March 6 from 9 AM – 3 PM.

Admission prices for the 2016 Maple Syrup Festival: $10, Children 6 and under are free.

Buy tickets online at the National Maple Syrup Festival website or at the gate. For more information, please call the Brown County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 812.988.7303.

Things to Do in Nashville, Indiana

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is Little Indiana.

Just don’t forget to tell them that Little Indiana sent you.

Brown County State Park
1810 State Road 46 East
Nashville, IN 47448
812.988.6406

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little Indiana.com. More than a website, Little Indiana is a PBS segment on the state-wide program "The Weekly Special," a bi-weekly column in a local newspaper, and a book. Look for "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" published by Indiana University Press in April 2016--just in time for Indiana's BIG 200th Birthday Celebration.

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