Festival-goers enjoy a sunny morning at the Indian Creek Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2015. This year’s Maple Syrup Festival will be March 24 and 25. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Indian Creek Nature Center is adding a new twist to this year’s annual Maple Syrup Festival.

To celebrate its 35th anniversary, the festival will offer locally made Maple Fest beer and maple ice cream for sale at the event,  happening Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, 2018.

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Learn more from the Indian Creek Nature Center:

Indian Creek Nature Center (ICNC) is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its signature event, the Maple Syrup Festival, on March 24 & 25, 2018, from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. each day. To mark the milestone, the event will feature for sale unique products made with local businesses including Maple Fest beer by Iowa Brewing Company as well as maple ice cream by Dan & Debbie’s Creamery, both made with real maple syrup from the Nature Center.

Maple syrup is the main attraction at the Indian Creek Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Festival. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Maple Syrup Festival was started in 1984 by Rich Patterson, executive director of ICNC from 1979-2013, to kick off the maple sap harvest and allow the community to taste real maple syrup made at the Nature Center. Unlike many community events, the Maple Syrup Festival has grown steadily in popularity over the years, drawing 3,000 attendees in 2017 for the first year in the organization’s Amazing Space building.

“Maple Syruping has a classic, enduring appeal – the Festival has become a family tradition for many in our community. Plus, who doesn’t love eating real maple syrup?” said Lindsey Flannery, ICNC Marketing and Development Manager.

The Maple Syrup Festival features a pancake and sausage breakfast with real maple syrup made on-site, along with live syrup-making demonstrations in the Nature Center’s Sugar House, educational displays showing how syrup was made by early and native Americans, and live music to enjoy during breakfast. A shuttle will bring attendees between breakfast at Amazing Space and additional educational demonstrations at the Nature Center barn. Parking is available in both parking lots and on the north side of Otis Road.

Musician schedule is as follows: Saturday 8-10 AM: Peter Hart and friends (jazz); Saturday 10:15 AM-12:30 PM: Riverbottom Ramblers (bluegrass); Sunday 8-10 AM: Denny Redmond and friends (jazz); Sunday 10:15 AM-12:30 PM: Scott Engledow (solo acoustic guitar).

Advance cost: $8 adults, $4 children ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and under. At the door cost: $10 adults, $5 children ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and under. Advance tickets can be purchased at indiancreeknaturecenter.org or by calling 319-362-0664.

About Indian Creek Nature Center:

Located in Cedar Rapids, Indian Creek Nature Center is Iowa’s first and only privately owned and operated non-profit nature center. With 500 acres of land under its management, the Nature Center hosts thousands of visitors each year for nature-based programs and activities. The mission of the Indian Creek Nature Center is to promote a sustainable future by nurturing individuals through environmental education, providing leadership in land protection and restoration, and encouraging responsible interaction with nature.