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March 8: mark your calendars for Big 400 Maple Festival


It’s maple syrup time, and the communities of The Big 400 are teaming up to celebrate maple syruping in southern Michigan with a festival on Saturday, March 8.

The festival includes pancake breakfasts, tours of tapping areas and the syruping process, the release of a local maple wine, and lots of good things to eat.

Pancake Breakfasts

Chelsea Alehouse, 420 North Main St. Suite 100. The menu includes pancakes, bacon, and potatoes… with real maple syrup from 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Call 433-5500 for more information.

McLennan Maple Syrup, 10950 M-52, Manchester. Stop by anytime on March 8 beginning at 9 a.m. for a pancake breakfast with estate-made maple syrup. Cost is $6 for adults, $3 for children. Sides of sausage are available for an additional charge.  Call 734-428-7005 for more information.

Proceeds from the breakfasts go to support The Big 400 in guiding tourists to the region.

Maple Tours and Interpretation

Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Road, Sylvan Township, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s time for that traditional rite of spring, tapping maple trees. Observe demonstrations of the whole process of making maple syrup from collecting the sap to the evaporation process. Guided walks will show modern-day and old-time methods for making maple syrup at home, and a film will be available for viewing. Maple products will be for sale.

McLennan Maple Syrup, 10950 M-52, Manchester. Tours every two hours beginning at 9 a.m. Take a look at the sugar shack process, handle tools and supplies, learn about tapping the trees, and take part in maple-related activities such as coloring and crafts. Taste testing of maple candy and McLennan maple syrup on ice cream. Local maple syrup, candy, and maple cream are available for purchase. Tours: $5 per person. Call 734-428-7005 for more information.

Hudson Mills Metropark, 8801 N. Territorial Road, Dexter.  Join a journey to the Sugar Bush and experience how maple sap is collected and made into maple syrup. Enjoy a taste straight from the tree. Come early and enjoy a pancake breakfast as well. Fee: $5 per adult, $3 per child. Breakfast is $5.50 for adults; $3.50 for children. Preregistration required. For more information or to register, call 426-8211.

Maple Wine Release

Sandhill Crane Vineyards, 4724 Walz Road, Jackson will release Sugar Snow, Sandhill Crane Vineyards’ limited edition dessert wine made with local maple sap and syrup. Light and not too sweet, Sugar Snow pairs beautifully with light desserts, sweet cheeses, and the winery’s famous Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Call 517-764-0679 for more information.

Maple dishes at local restaurants:


Terry B’s Restaurant and Bar

7954 Ann Arbor St.  Call 426-3727 for more information.

Aubrees Pizzeria and Grill

8031 Main St. Call 424-1400 for more information.

Dexter’s Pub

8114 Main St. Call 426-1234 for more information.

redbrick kitchen & bar

8093 Main St. Call 424-0420 for more information.


Cravingz Coffee Shop – Maple-Pecan Flavored Coffee & Maple Latte

140 S. Clinton St. Call 517-851-3810 for more information.

Stockbridge Diner – Maple Syrup Topped Cinnamon Rolls

110 E. Main St. Call 517-851-7900


Cleary’s Pub – Maple-Glazed Georgian Bay Ruby Red Trout & Spiced Maple Bourbon Martini

133 S. Main St. Call 475-1922 for more information.

Chelsea Alehouse – Maple Porter

420 N Main St #100. Call 433-5500 for more information.


Jerry’s Pub – a number of maple dishes with McLennan maple syrup

650 Egan Highway. Call 517-467-4700 for more information.


Sandhill Crane Vineyards – a wide range of maple entrees, salads, and desserts

4724 Walz Road. Call 517-764-0679 for more information.

The mission of the Big 400 is to prepare and execute plans which stimulate commerce in the communities sharing a common border local and state public lands, while concurrently partnering with the stewards of these public lands to promote and encourage their use and preservation.

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