History lessons and a hot breakfast draw a record crowd to Pattison Park

March 19th, 2010    Author: Art Hunter    Filed Under: News

A record crowd of more than 350 people braved the rain last Saturday to attend the Clermont County Park District’s fifth annual Pancakes in the Park.

Chris Clingman, Clermont County Park District director, said that this event always draws a large number of people interested both in learning about how maple syrup is made and enjoying a hearty breakfast.

“This is one of our more successful and popular events,” Clingman said. “We get a new group of people every year who have heard about it and come out.”

Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee members, from left, Curt Marlar, Milissa Marlar, Debby Jenkins, and George West boil maple sap in a kettle and, at bottom left, a log with a depression carved into it.
Park district employees and volunteers from the Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee demonstrated for visitors how sap is tapped from maple trees and boiled down to make syrup.

The park district operates a wood-fired evaporator, purchased with a donation of $5,000 from the Pattison Foundation. According to Keith Robinson, a naturalist with the park district, the evaporator is designed for small-scale commercial operations of between 50 - 100 tree taps. The park district has 35 taps at Pattison Park, which produce about seven to eight gallons of syrup each season.

Grassy Run members demonstrated the methods of making syrup used by Native Americans, who were the first to make maple syrup, and by the the early settlers to the area.

The first European settlers boiled the sap in kettles over an open fire. Native Americans would pour the sap into depressions carved into logs, and then place stones heated in fires into the sap to boil it.

"Our big thing is education," Robinson said. "We want to show people the different methods that have been used to make maple syrup."

In addition to the demonstrations and naturalist-guided hikes, park visitors enjoyed a pancake breakfast served by members of Bethel Boy Scout Troop 196.

According to Scout Master Ron Shouse, the scouts take care of the cooking, serving, and clean-up at the event. The park district splits the proceeds from the event with the scouts, who use the money for summer camp other camping trips.
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