By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Sap production in maple trees varies from year to year depending on the temperatures, but that never stops Boardman Park from hosting its annual Maple Syrup Festival.
The event includes the Boardman Rotary’s pancake breakfast and a maple-syrup demonstration.
Each year, park workers tap the maple trees in the park and collect sap. The excess water is then boiled away to create pure maple syrup.
The park’s trees produce a few gallons of syrup each year, said Pete Cordon, a park employee.
“It’s more for demonstration than production,” Cordon noted.
Erik Linebaugh is no stranger to the event. As a child, he regularly attended with his mother. Now Linebaugh and his wife, Linda, bring their son.
“I enjoy it every year,” Linebaugh said at Sunday’s event. “It’s nice. It brings community together.”
The couple’s 4-year-old son, Liam Linebaugh, said the event was fun. He particularly liked the stuffed squirrel on display in a park pavilion.
The Boardman family also took a wagon ride.
“It made me dizzy,” Liam said.
Jarek Esarco and Regina Delaratta of Boardman attended for the first time, bringing along Delaratta’s daughter, Ruby Ramsey, 4.
“It looked like fun. Something to do — family-oriented,” Delaratta said.
Before checking out the maple-sugar demonstration, they stopped at the Rotary pancake breakfast.
“The pancakes were good,” Esarco said.
They also watched Civil War re-enactments and took a wagon ride.
“It’s a cool little idea,” Esarco said. “I like it.”
Boardman Boy Scout Troop 60 participates annually in the event.
It’s a chance for the boys to work on skills and to get the word out about the organization, said Scoutmaster Byron Harnishfeger.
This year, for the first time, the troop camped in the park overnight.
“It went well,” Harnishfeger said.
Eighteen boys participated.
One boy, trying to earn his Eagle Scout award, worked on his cooking merit badge requirements. Others, newly crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, worked on earning their Totin’ Chip card.
“If they don’t have their Totin’ Chip card, they’re not allowed to use an ax or carry a knife or anything like that,” Harnishfeger said.
Also featured in the Maple Syrup Festival are woodcarvers, an art show and a basket raffle. The festival also will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.