Mill Grove's Sapsucker Festival from 3/1/2014.
Mill Grove’s Sapsucker Festival 2014
Jessica Marie Cavaliere
Formerly known as the Maple Sugar Festival, John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove (JJAC) started this yearly tradition in 2006, and was started as a way to celebrate both human and bird forms that enjoy maple syrup. The change in name this year from Maple Sugar Festival to Sapsucker Festival, according to Janelle Wommer, an educator at JJAC, was to make the festival more bird oriented. That makes sense as John J. Audubon was a bird artist and this is the location is the first American home for Audubon.
The Sapsucker Festival started at 9am on March 1, 2014 and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast for $5 for adults and free for children aged 5 and younger was waiting for visitors that wanted to partake in the scrumptious treats that were complete with maple syrup (from Mill Grove’s trees I believe), sausage links and apple juice, hot chocolate or coffee. The breakfast was held in the barn and a few of Audubon’s pieces were hanging up so visitors can enjoy the lovely sites of birds as they ate.
The Sapsucker Festival lasted until 2pm, but I only stayed until 12:30pm. Throughout the day there were bird displays. Sam Adams, the half blind screech owl, was walked around teaching children about screech owls. Sam Adams was hit on US 422 while trying to catch a mouse. Fortunately, someone found him and called a rescue site, but they couldn’t save his left eye. Jack Daniels, I believe that was the name of the Great Horned Owl, was also walked around for children to learn about him.
There were also stations of dissecting owl feces, goose migration and free tours of the Audubon house. The tour of the Audubon house was self-guided and there was a drawing room on the second floor where you could try your art skills. Taxidermied owls and hawks sat in display, but there were also stencils for the children. They also had Audubon posters on sale for 99 cents in the gift shop.
Towards the end of my walking around, I noticed there was a children’s place of $1 games for children to try. There were also stations on sugar making, candy making, and tree tapping, but it was too cold for sap to flow. The educator said that it must be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer for sap to flow from the tree.
Although, it was a cold day (25 degrees Fahrenheit) it was well worth the cold for how much fun I had and for all I learned. If you are even in the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania area and want to check out John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, please call 610-666-5593 or visit their website: johnjames.audubon.org/visit-us.