The trees have been tapped and the sweet sap is flowing! It's time for the Green's Maple Syrup Fest! Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 29 and the following Saturday, April 4 beginning at 10 a.m. Last year on the first event day, over 1,160 people attended. Normally with both event days combined, over two thousand people attend the annual rite of spring event. With the last fest day the weekend of Easter, they may surpass their normal attendees as many families will be home for the holiday. Many took home a jug of their fresh homemade maple syrup as they left. Green’s Sugar Bush is located at 1437 111th Avenue by Castalia.
Besides breakfast, you can have a free tour of the timberland in a horse drawn wagon and the children can have a pony ride.
Last year, early Sunday morning Karen and Dale Green were busy greeting people touring the sap house as the long line that split to either buy maple syrup in the sap house or up the hill to the shelter for breakfast of pancakes and wood fire grilled sausages from local Spillville Locker. The horse teams and wagons were lined up full of people as many went for a tour of the timber after breakfast and the children had a fun time riding ponies.
“The whole event is a family affair,” says Karen Green. “Our children have taken over the meal for us.” Seventh generation granddaughter of the Green’s Dani Stock of Waukon was among the volunteers who guided the pony rides, while her Uncle Jake Meyer drove a team of horses and wagon through the timber for people could tour the woods. Other family members like Curt Hauser from Indianola who married Dale and Karen’s youngest daughter Wendy was busy grilling Spillville Locker sausages over an open fire for the breakfast, while Mark Stock and Jeni Green Melcher were busy flipping pancakes in the serving line to an almost unending line all day.”
Last year spring was slow to come. “With the cold spring, the Green’s were only on their second batch of maple syrup this season, which is very unusual since soon the season should be ending,” said Jim Ludeking of Decorah last year while keeping the wood fire going on the evaporator by adding wood every seven minutes as the sap condensed down.
Great Grandfather Gideon Green was the first to tap a limited about of trees at Sugar Bush way back in the 1850’s. Now, Dale and Karen Green, the fifth generation of Green’s tap about 1,500 trees with the help from their children and grandchildren.
Come early, because the lines are usually long for this popular rite of spring event not only locals, but has been known to bring in people from seven different states. Parking is limited and you may have to park on the gravel road quite a ways away. Remember to dress warmly and wear good walking shoes, as this is an outdoors event.