March 5, 2014
Out in the forest a gentle drumbeat pierces the silence of a long, snowy winter. Not a drum in the traditional sense, but a tradition nonetheless, when the first drops of maple sap hit the buckets we know spring has arrived at Saint John's.
Maple syrup season is a time to celebrate community, history, culture, and place. If you're looking for a family event to witness the drumbeat of spring, join Saint John's Outdoor University for the annual Maple Syrup Festivals in the Abbey Arboretum from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, March 29 and Saturday, April 5, at Saint John's Abbey & University. Registration will be near Saint John's Prep School.
The festivals include tours and sap collection, tapping demonstrations, historical talks, horse-drawn wagon rides and more. Punctuate the afternoon with free hot maple syrup sundaes. From kids to grandparents, this is an event for the whole family. It's an open house, so come when you can and stay as long as you like.
Bring your Boy and Girl Scout troops to the festivals for Maple Syrup Scout Days. The Scouts can participate in a variety of maple syruping activities and will receive a Saint John's Maple Syrup patch for their hard work! Scouts are required to preregister for the festival they are attending in order to receive the maple syrup patches. Did your scouts participate last year? Come again to earn a 2014 patch.
Saint John's Outdoor University members can attend the festivals for $5 per adult and free for children. Cost for Scouts and non-members is $10 per adult and $5 per child (ages 4-17); kids age 3 and under are free. Outdoor U memberships are available online and will be available at the festivals. Preregister for the festival by the Friday before and receive $1 off per person, up to $10 per family (NOTE: Scout troops are not eligible for the preregistration discount). Call 320-363-3163 or visit our website for more information and to register.
Maple syruping has been an annual rite of spring at Saint John's since the 1940s when sugar shortages prompted the monastery to learn the maple syrup production process. For nearly 70 years, members of the Saint John's community have carried on this tradition, and we're thrilled to share it with you.
Saint John's Outdoor University provides environmental and outdoor education through classes, events, and initiatives with the Abbey Arboretum, Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict. Saint John's Abbey Arboretum is more than 2,500 acres of lakes, prairie, oak savannah and forest owned by Saint John's Abbey and surrounding Saint John's University. Together we celebrate the unique beauty and richness of God's creation in central Minnesota and foster the Benedictine traditions of land stewardship, education, and environmental respect.