Visitors experience spring’s sweet side with FREE Ohio maple events

2009 Syrup Days (8)Mansfield, OH – The same trees that treat visitors to a stunning show each fall are behind a pair of FREE and unforgettable events that welcome travelers in early spring to two of the Buckeye State’s top destinations.  This March, both Hocking Hills State Park and Malabar Farm State Park host unforgettable celebrations of the goodness of pure, Ohio maple syrup.

Malabar Farm State Park will demonstrate sugaring techniques from the early days, when Ohio was home to Native Americans, through present day maple production. A self-guided tour of the sugar camp and sugarhouse will reveal the evolution of sugaring equipment and how maple sap is transformed into syrup.  Kids and adults will also enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides to the sugar camp provided by the Central Ohio Draft Horse Association.  Free samples of maple syrup will be available at the sugar house.  Pure Ohio maple syrup, homemade maple walnut fudge, maple cotton candy, maple popcorn and other maple products will be available in the Malabar Farm Gift Shop throughout the season.  Live music and light refreshments are offered in nearby Pugh Log Cabin. The festival runs March 7-8 and 14-15, from 12-4 p.m. More information can be found at www.MansfieldTourism.com.

Just two hours south, in Ohio’s Hocking Hills, travelers will find another maple syrup celebration as Hocking Hills State Park naturalists welcome visitors to Maple Sugaring in the Hills March 8-9 from 12-4 p.m. at the Naturalist’s Cabin behind the Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center.  Taking place against the dramatic backdrop of the forest, rock formations and waterfalls of Old Man’s Cave, naturalists and costumed interpreters transport guests from the very oldest sugaring techniques used by prehistoric tribes through time to discover contemporary methods used today to distill maple syrup. From tree-to-table, visitors will get to see — and taste — how local maple sap is collected and boiled down to create syrup, with samples to taste and bottles available for sale. Beginning at 8 a.m., guests can visit Hocking Hills Dining Lodge for a hot breakfast of pancakes smothered in real Hocking Hills’ maple syrup. After breakfast, visitors are encouraged to explore the many trails and adventures the region offers. Detailed information is available at www.ExploreHockingHills.com.

About Mansfield: A destination unlike any other, Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio offers wildly unusual travel adventures and experiences. Travelers can spend the night in a haunted former state prison where the No. 1 movie of all time, The Shawshank Redemption, and other Hollywood blockbuster movies were filmed. World-class motorsports, skiing, hiking, biking, golf and loads of other outdoor adventures attract families and visitors of all ages. Complete visitor information and free visitors guide is available at MansfieldTourism.com or MansfieldTourism.com/mobile or by calling (800) 642-8282.

About the Hocking Hills: Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, the Hocking Hills region offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and plenty of free activities. The region boasts a wide variety of affordable lodging, from camping, cabins and cottages to hotels and inns.  In addition to miles of hiking trails, parks and forests, the Hocking Hills is the Canopy Tour Capital of the Midwest, with more than 55 ziplines being offered via three distinct guide services. Unique gift and antique shops, canoeing, off-road Segways, belly boat fishing, horseback riding and spas make the Hocking Hills the perfect place to unplug. Complete traveler information is available www.ExploreHockingHills.com or 1-800-Hocking (800-462-5464).

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Media: Maple recipes, media tours, color art and additional information available.  Contact Amy Weirick, (O) 614.848.8380, (M) 614.296.8513 or amy@WeirickCommunications.com.