Monday, February 25, 2008

Maple Syrup Time at the Indiana Dunes

Maple Sugar Time is one of the most popular seasons at historic Chellberg Farm, part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

In the 1870s, Swedish immigrants Anders and Johanna "Kjellberg" bought 80 acres in Porter County, Indiana, to establish a farm. They were the first of three generations of the Chellberg Family to make their living here. In the 1930s, the Chellbergs started to tap the many maple trees on their property for the production of maple syrup.

The 30th Annual Maple Sugar Time Festival 1, 2 and 8, 9 March features the evolution of "maple sugaring" in Northwest Indiana from an early American Indian method, to the pioneer method of boiling sap in open iron kettles, to the relatively modern and commercial method of producing syrup much the way the Chellberg family did.

The festival grounds will be open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day Ranger-led tours will be offered from 10 a.m. - noon. At noon, the guided tours are replaced by a self-guided interpreted tour route with uniformed rangers and volunteers stationed at stops along the way. All tours start behind the Bailly/Chellberg Visitor Center and end near the Chellberg Farmhouse.

At the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, view the films "Visit to a Maple Sugar Farm" and "Maple Sugar Farmer" shown at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. All will add to your sugaring experience.

The Chesterton Lions Club will serve pancakes topped with pure maple syrup from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Bottled syrup will be available for sale at the visitor centers.

Admission to the Festival is free.

The Bailly/Chellberg Area is located on Mineral Springs Road between Highways 20 and 12, about 2 miles west of Highway 49. For more information about this and other programs, contact the visitor center at 219:926-7561, ext. 225.

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