Maple Syrup Season is one of the first signs of spring, as the cold winter months slowly slip away and the forest floor comes to life. Celebrate the coming of spring, in Indiana’s beautiful Brown County, at the only National Maple Syrup Festival in America.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, Brown County offers three beautiful venues for this fifth-anniversary event. While there is some overlap in the activities in each of the three areas, we’re looking at them in groupings.
The Story Inn is about food. Home to this year’s Sweet Victory Challenge, the Story Inn will host chefs from around the U.S., food writers and bloggers also from all over the county, some of the national recipe contestants — foodies in their own right, and those wanting a great meal or drink at this legendary Story venue. Food lovers, this Story is about you.
The Brown County State Park is for families and those looking for activity. An interpretive hike through the Park woods will provide lessons on identifying maple trees in winter and early spring. Got to spot ’em before you can tap ’em. A beautiful, historic Park lodge will be the launch point for the hike and the home to all things maple — the Dutch Oven Diva, Native American and French Colonial reenactors, modern-day maple syruping techniques, foods using maple syrup ingredients, and more.
Two locations in downtown Nashville — the Pioneer Village and the Village Green — is where the fun is. Home to children’s activities, food and art artisans with locally made products related to maple syrup, music, a pancake breakfast (and this is the only place you’ll find, and the only time you’ll hear “pancakes”) by a pancake showman like no other, and of course the cozy restaurants and quaint shops Nashville is known for — prepped with a new focus on all things maple.
Come back to this page often because this is where the action will be right up until the Festival. As activities, entertainment, foods, drinks, demonstrations, and artisans are confirmed, you will see that detail here. See you March 5 – 8 in beautiful Brown County, Indiana.
STORY, IND., POPULATION: 1
The Story Inn, with a tagline of “One Inconvenient Location Since 1851,” will host this year’s Sweet Victory Challenge, sponsored by Indiana-based maple syrup maker Burton’s Maplewood Farm. Chefs from around the U.S. will review hundreds of recipes submitted from both youth and adults from around the world. Panels of food writers and bloggers will judge the recipes the chefs make in three categories: breakfast, sweet and savory. Guests are invited to taste the chef-prepared dishes, too. For both foodies, and the food-curious, it’s a couple of fun days in one of southern Indiana’s most beautiful locales. The Sweet Victory Challenge is Sat. and Sun., March 7 and 8, at The Story Inn, 6404 South State Road 135. Many more details here.
BROWN COUNTY STATE PARK
If The Story Inn and the Sweet Victory Challenge are for food-lovers, the Festival in Brown County State Park is for those who love the outdoors, interactive learning, food over a campfire, and room to burn off some of the healthy maple food intake. A beautiful two-story shelter, clad in fieldstone, sporting four ginormous fireplaces — a WPA project from the 1930’s — plays host to the Dutch Oven Diva, who will cook and bake on charcoal and open fire on both Sat. and Sun., providing Festival goers with tastes of all kinds of dishes using maple syrup as an ingredient.
Just outside the shelter, descendants of Delaware and Shawnee tribes that once called this land home, will demonstrate Native American ways of making maple syrup. Nearby, French Colonial reenactors will demonstrate ways early white settlers made syrup in what was to become Indiana. Modern-day methods also will be presented, and you can see all this before, during or after an interpretive hike through the State Park to learn how to identify maple trees in winter and early spring. You might also learn how a tree is tapped. Many more details here.
THE VILLAGE OF NASHVILLE
You have seen it every time you have visited Nashville — that half-block “town” of restored log cabins. But have you ever been there? The Pioneer Village will take you back to a time when early settlers made maple syrup in a primitive, time-honored way, a compilation of Native American and early French Colonial methods merged for what was then cutting edge technology.
Just northeast of the Pioneer Village is the beautiful Brown County Library, and the Friends of the Library are hosting free kid’s activities on Saturday. Food and art artisans also will be around the Pioneer Village. Art artisans will include woodworkers who make functional kitchenware and dinnerware from hard maple, potters who make stoneware syrup pitchers and more; and they will be joined by chocolatiers who make maple-filled confections, candy makers making the most of maple sugar, bakers with maple breads, and even a draft horse that makes maple ice cream. Maybe the horse is an artisan, maybe not, but you will love the ice cream.
Downtown Nashville retailers will offer maple popcorn, maple ice creams, maple soap, and much more. And Nashville restaurants will offer savory and sweet dishes using maple syrup as an ingredient. On the west side of the village is what locals call “Four Corners” or the “Village Green.” You will call it a place to relax and have fun. Music, more foods, a Maple Camp for kids, puppet shows with stories related to maple sugaring, and much more will happen here. Connecting the two downtown areas, that are a very walkable two blocks apart, will be a horse-drawn trolley — because Nashville has that kind of thing, and guests love it.
Again, come back to this page often because this is where the action will be right up until the Festival. As activities, entertainment, foods, drinks, demonstrations, and artisans are confirmed, you will see that detail here. See you March 5 – 8 in beautiful Brown County, Indiana.