MUMFORD — The tap lines are going out, a sure sign that winter is on the wane and the first harvest of the year – the maple sugar harvest – is at hand. At Genesee Country Village & Museum, visitors can join in the celebration during the Maple Sugar Festival and Pancake Breakfast, or for a twist on happy hour, attend the Maple Sugar Soiree, an evening of maple-themed foods and drinks hosted at the Nature Center, home of the Museum’s new, modern sap evaporator.

During the weekends of March 23-24 and 30-31, guests to GCV&M can head out on the Maple History Trail to learn how various tapping methods evolved, and get hands-on with the tools of the trade. From the Age of Wood up to the Age of Plastic, maple harvesting through the years will be on display. In the recently completed sugarhouse, the evaporator will give guests an up-close look at how sap is made into thick, amber maple syrup. In addition to sampling the chilly, taffy-like treat “sugar on snow,” guests will be able to purchase maple popcorn, maple cotton candy, maple coffee and more.

The Historic Village will be a hub of activity featuring demonstrations of crafts and trades like coopering, blacksmithing, candle-making, and maple cookery of all types, plus the smokehouse and brewery will be active. Guests can hear folktales and legends from Native American storytellers twice daily, and join in games like “Flapjack Flip.” An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will also be available ($10 adults/$8 youth) served with, of course, plenty of maple syrup. Tickets to the Festival are only $10 for adults, plus kids and members are free.

A unique opportunity to see the sugarhouse in a more intimate setting will be the Maple Sugar Soiree on Friday, March 29 from 6-9 pm. It’s a party celebrating the maple sugar harvest, when guests can join the Museum in toasting a successful maple sugaring season at this indoor/outdoor evening featuring live music, games, a bonfire, and more. Maple-themed foods will be on offer, as well as a maple craft cocktail, beer, and wine. This 21-and-over event is taking reservations now, as tickets are limited. Tickets to the soiree will include 2 free drink coupons, food tastings, and a complimentary ticket to the Maple Sugar Festival – a great two-for-one deal. Reservations are encouraged.

With the largest and most comprehensive Maple Sugar Festival in Western NY just 20 minutes from Rochester and 50 minutes from Buffalo, Genesee Country Village & Museum is the place to be for all things maple this season.