Sweet Saturday!

WHEELING, W.Va. – – Sweet sap is flowing in the Oglebay sugar bush, and local residents can learn how to tap maples and enjoy a pancake breakfast with fresh maple syrup at the annual Maple Sugaring Day Saturday, March 26.

Presented by the Schrader Environmental Education Center, Maple Sugaring Day takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is a great way to celebrate early spring.

Each year hundreds of people enjoy this hands-on outdoor program that includes a nature walk, demonstrations of sugaring techniques, the history of maple sugaring, and socializing around a boiling sap evaporator. The event concludes with a pancake breakfast that includes your choice of buckwheat or regular pancakes with fresh syrup, sausage, juice or coffee.

The program begins in the woods behind Camp Russel. Nature guides will lead groups through Oglebay’s sugar bush, stopping along the trail to discover maple-sugaring techniques from its earliest history through present day. Trail guides depart from the Camp Russel parking lot every half hour beginning at 9 a.m. The last group leaves at 12:30 p.m.

Visitors will learn how Native Americans discovered this “sweet water” and the methods they used to harvest it. They will hear about colonial methods of sap tapping and try drilling holes with old-fashioned bits and braces. They will see how wooden taps, known as spiles, were made to allow sap to flow from tree to bucket. They will learn about current pipeline techniques and watch how maple sap is boiled down into syrup, with a whopping 40 gallons of sap needed to produce only one gallon of syrup.

“This program continues to grow in popularity each year,” Eriks Janelsins, director of Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Center, said. ” It is an opportunity families to enjoy the outdoors, learn some fascinating history and enjoy a great breakfast together.”

Janelsins recommends that people make advanced reservations for the event because it is limited to the first 300 people. He said that people who pre-register are given a time slot for the tour, which eliminates waiting time for participants.

For more information and to reserve a time slot, call the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855.

Admission to Maple Sugaring Day is $6. Members of Oglebay Institute receive a discount. Boots and appropriate outdoor clothing are recommended.

March hours of Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center, located in Oglebay, are noon until 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

For more information on Oglebay Institute or the Schrader Center, visit online at