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Tapping a Sweet Tradition: Maple Sugar Festival & Pancake Breakfast at Hale Farm

UPublish story by Alyssa Purvis

The caption of a 1930 cartoon in the Akron Beacon Journal read, “Noise in the city, restful quiet in the camp.” The cartoon accompanied an article about C.O. Hale’s Maple Sugar Camp at what is now Hale Farm & Village. The process of making sap into syrup and sugar is still alive today at Hale Farm & Village during the annual Maple Sugar Festival & Pancake Breakfast, and takes place during two weekends: March 15-16 and 22-23 from 10:00am-4:00pm.

Experience the process of maple sugaring at Hale Farm & Village as if you were alongside three generations of the Hale family. Demonstrations during the festival will include tree tapping, sap to syrup production techniques, and tree and oxen talks. During your visit, discover early American crafts and trades and explore the historic structures that make up Hale Farm’s 90-acre property. Finish your tour with a hot pancake breakfast in the Gatehouse hosted by Bob Evans Restaurant, the event sponsor.

C.O. Hale’s sugaring journal, his sugaring chair, and the 1930 Akron Beacon Journal cartoon and article will be on display during this year’s festival. C.O. Hale was an active member of the community and spoke proudly of the historic bounty of the Cuyahoga Valley.

“Western Reserve Historical Society is eager to share Mr. Hale’s work and experiences with the community,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, Interim CEO of WRHS. “The Maple Sugar Festival gives guests the opportunity to get away from the bustle of the city and discover the bustle and hard work of harvesting the sugar and making maple syrup at Hale Farm & Village.”

“We are pleased to be involved in this great family festival,” said Chuck Szalay, Area Coach for Bob Evans Restaurants. “We’ve been bringing friends and families together for more than 60 years and as a company founded in Ohio, this event allows us to remind everyone of our own Ohio history – and our famous hotcake breakfasts - with Hale Farm & Village.” Bob Evans Restaurants also provide coupons and coloring sheets for the event, both of which are popular with families.

The Marketplace at Hale Farm & Village will be open for shopping during all festival dates. The Marketplace features products handmade by the artisans at Hale Farm, including blown glass and pottery, Ohio-made maple sugar, and many other local items and souvenirs. To purchase tickets or learn more about Maple Sugar Festival, visit or call 330-666-3711. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for children ages 3-12. Member ticket prices are $5 for each family member. Ticket prices include the pancake breakfast, which is served from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm each day. Breakfast-only tickets are also available for $5 each on event days.

“We encourage families to buy tickets on line as soon as possible—we will not sell out—but an idea about our ticket sales allows us to do the best possible job with our partner, Bob Evans, in being prepared for hungry families on Sugar Maple days,” said Falcone-Hall.

Maple Sugar Festival is part of InHale, an educational initiative that utilizes historic and natural resources at Hale Farm & Village to create lifelong learning experiences that blend community engagement, food & nutrition, health & wellness and literacy improvement.

Visitors can also attend Maple Sugar Festival by train during the second weekend of the event (March 22-23). The Maple Sugar Express, operated by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, will run each weekend. For more information or to purchase combo tickets visit

Hale Farm & Village, a living history museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, is located on 90 acres with 32 historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens, farming, and early American craft and trade demonstrations. The location is open for special programming and events through the month of March. Visit or call (330) 666-3711 ext. 1720 for seasonal hours, program listings, rental information, and turn-by-turn directions.

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