Visitors can hike to see a tapped Maple Sugar tree and watch a condenser boil sap into syrup.

Get ready for the sap to flow and the syrup to boil! Welty is hosting its 14th annual Maple Sugar Fest on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 8 a.m. to noon at Big Hill Center, located at 1201 Big Hill Court in Beloit.

The morning will be filled with maple sugar-themed activities, such as: hikes, an active condenser boiling sap down to make syrup, a drum circle led by the Seven Nations Native American group, children’s story time, basket weaving, woodcarving, and take-home crafts.

There will also be a delicious pancake breakfast, featuring real maple syrup, sausage, apple sauce, and hot drinks. The cost is $8 for adults, $3 for kids 2-12, and children under 2 eat for free. Starting Feb. 1, discounted pre-sale tickets ($7 for adults) will be available through Welty’s website ( until Feb. 21.

“We look forward to hosting folks at Big Hill Park and sharing this late-winter tradition,” said Brenda Plakans, Welty executive director. “The program staff has a wonderful hands-on experience for visitors, after they eat their pancakes.

“Folks will be able to taste sap as it comes out of the tree, try their hands at drilling a hole in a tree trunk, and warm themselves by a bonfire while they see how much sap it takes to make a bottle of syrup (almost 40 gallons)!”

This is the third year Welty has invited the Seven Nations Drum Circle, to present a friendship ceremony and teach visitors about Native American maple sugar traditions.

This process of using the early run of sap to create maple sugar was introduced to European settlers by Native Americans, as a strategy for getting through the last months of winter before spring food resources became available. Maple Sugar was used as a seasoning, as well as a treat, and was a center of early spring celebrations.

“Come enjoy the early signs of spring–rain or shine (or snow!)–at Welty,“ encouraged Plakans. “There’s something for everyone and it’s a fun, and tasty, way to learn more about Wisconsin history!”

To register email, call 608-362-6212, or sign-up online at

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