By Meghan McCaffrey Contributing Writer
---- — Though winter’s chill still fills the air; one telltale sign that spring on its way is the beginning of maple sugaring season.
Starting Sunday and continuing every Sunday in March, the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown is offering a unique opportunity to learn about the process of making maple sugar at their annual Sugaring Off Sundays.
A full pancake breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with other activities from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“When Sugaring Off Sundays appear, it tells me that the warmer days are coming,” said Todd Kenyon, director of marketing and communications for the New York State Historical Association.
Last year, there were a total of 2891 attendees for all five Sunday events, Kenyon said. That is 200 people more than the average, which is usually about 2600 attendees, Kenyon said.
This year, Kenyon said he hopes for more people but is unsure because of the unpredictable weather in March.
“It would be nice to exceed last year’s numbers, but with the weather being such a strong variable, it would be great just to maintain the average,” Kenyon continued.
There will be many family-friendly activities including demonstrations of the historic and modern methods of extracting maple syrup, Kenyon said. The old method includes simple items, such as a bucket to catch the sap and a kettle over a fire to boil the sap into syrup. The modern method includes the usage of sap lines and an evaporator pan.
People can also taste the fresh hot maple covered snow called jack wax.
There will be children’s activities in the 1800’s Flier’s Corners Schoolhouse and the Empire State Carousel will also be open for people to ride. In the historic village, people can talk with the master printer who will be using 19th-century type, cuts, and presses to create cards and posters.
“People can walk in and set type and learn about printing in the 19th-century,” Kenyon said.
The Lippitt Farmstead will be open as well for people to admire the animals. The oxen-in-training, Red and Rusty, will be there as well as heritage breeds of ducks, chickens, turkeys and a horse and cow.
“We are trying to fill the barnyard with as many animals as we can this time of year,” Kenyon said.
The Farmers’ Museum hopes to show a working farm this year with all the animals, Kenyon said. They are also getting all of their exhibitions ready for their opening day on April 1.
“It’s just a great place to bring the family and to get out of the house on a gray day,” Kenyon said.
The Otsego County Maple Producers will be in attendance to speak about maple sugaring and offer local maple products for sale. The Farmers’ Museum Store will be open with spring sales, Kenyon said.
Sugaring Off Sundays will be held on March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. Admission is $9 for ages 13 and older; $5 for children 7 to 12; and free for children 6 and under. Admission includes the pancake breakfast. No reservations are required. For more information go FarmersMuseum.org/sos.