Cincinnati Family Magazine

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June 25, 2024

Sugar Camp is Super Sweet

Step into the forest and back in time to experience life in a mid-1800’s sugar camp. Visit a working sugar camp, demonstrating the art and science of making maple syrup the old fashioned way. Steve Trauger, Kenton County Parks & Recreation’s Programs Coordinator will portray Mr. Elrod Tapper, an American frontier settler. He will work with the tools and accoutrements used 150 – 200 years ago in frontier America and dressed in clothing representative of the era. A second camp features Howard McDaniel, portraying Hickory and providing participants an opportunity to see how an American Indian would have lived at the time. See how sap water was processed into hard sugar, using hand-hewn wooden bowls, heated stones and birch bark molds, as Shawnee and Iroquois Indians might have done. Dennis Flerlage (The Captain), local old-time fiddler, will be on hand most days to entertain with folk songs of the era.

Was living in ‘the olden days’ really a simpler time? You be the judge! Visitors will be encouraged to participate in many of the day-to-day tasks of Sugar Camp. Learn about a ‘spile’ and then help make one. Help tap trees and drink sap water; gather and split wood for the fires; carry sap-water filled buckets back to camp and pour the contents into the copper kettles boiling on the fire. Use pastels to create artwork for jar labels. You’ll discover the time and effort that must be devoted to obtain maple syrup. But “back in the day,” it would have been worth it because maple syrup was the only natural sweetener available at the time. The best part? You will also sample home-made maple syrup!

Sugar Camp takes place at Middleton-Mills Park (3415 Mills Road, Covington) March 9 – 13 at 10 a.m. and 12 and 2 p.m.  Call 859-525-7529 or visit to RSVP!  No reservations required if you’re attending the camp on Saturday, March 14, or Sunday, March 15.

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