Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Events 2013

While Kalamazoo's Spring started with substantial snowfall this year, warmer weather, birds, wildflowers, and morels are all on their way and hiking and biking will replace the winter sports.   A substantial number of local events celebrate spring.

Spring events near Kalamazoo

March 1- April 30 Butterflies are Blooming at Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids

April 13th Wenke Greenhouse tour 9-10:30am Reservations Kalamazoo

April 13 Friends of Indiana Dunes Native Plant Sale 8 am -1 pm Indiana Dunes State Park Chesterton,IN

April 13 Annual Midwest Crane Count 5:30-7:30 am

April 20 Third Annual Grand River Green Up 9am-noon Harbor Island, Grand Haven

April 20 8th Annual Lakeshore Earth Day Celebration Grand Haven

April 20-28, National Park Week   (subject to sequestration cuts)
April 22 Free Admission for Earth Day at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 9:00am - 5:00pm Augusta

April 26-27 Thornapple Woodpecker Festival Middleville

April 27 Green-A-Thon 2013 Celery Flats Portage

May 4-11 Tulip Time festival Holland
May 4 Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade 1pm St Joseph - Benton Harbor

May 4-5 Victorian Days Grand Ledge

May 11 Spring Blooms in the Dunes (and Native Plant Sale 9am - 3pm) Gillette Visitor Center Hoffmaster State Park Muskegon

May 11 Lees' Kayak & Canoe Demo day Kalamazoo

May 11-18 Kalamazoo Bike Week Kalamazoo

May 17-19 Great Lakes Kite Festival 2013 Grand Haven

May 18 Family Fishing Fair Ramona Park 10am-1pm Portage
Also consider
Maple Syrup Events 2013

Vegetable planting dates

Earth Day Activities throughout Michigan

Earth Day events in Metro Detroit

Wild Ones (Kalamazoo Chapter) Programs & Field Trips

Battle Creek Cleanwater Events

Tawas Point Birding Festival Iosco County May 16–19

Event listings from Discover Kalamazoo
DNR has calendars for State Park events in March, April, May
Gazelle Sports' calendar of West Michigan Races & Running Workshops

League of Michigan Bicyclists Michigan Bicycling Calendar

Outdoor Athlete has lists for Michigan running, biking and triathlon events.

Michigan Festivals and Events Association Events browser

Spring weekend getaways


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Maple Sugar Festival

The Kalamazoo Nature Center's annual Maple Sugar Festival is this weekend.  The event features demonstrations of maple sugaring, from tree to syrup, and maple-centered food.  We enjoyed pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast this morning and, later, some maple cotton candy.  In the afternoon, they feature sundaes: ice cream with maple syrup.

They have different activities and shows for kids.  We saw a raptor demonstration with an American Kestral, Red-Tailed Hawk, and a Screech Owl.  We skipped the Maple Sugar Tour this year, to have more time at the Delano Homestead area.
Maple Sugar Festival events at Delano Homestead included a pioneer maple syrup demonstration, where sap was collected in wooden buckets coated with beeswax, then boiled in iron pots over an open fire. 

There were demonstrations of blacksmithing, spinning yarn, and rides in horse-drawn wagons.

Kalamazoo Nature Center
7000 North Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49009 

KNC's Delano Homestead
555 West E Ave
Kalamazoo, MI

Interested in other maple events near Kalamazoo?  See 2013 Maple Festivals

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

The Muskegon Winter Sport Complex is in Muskegon State Park, a drive of about an hour and a half from Kalamazoo.  We visited last weekend since their snow conditions report said the ski trails were in great condition.  The Complex offers over 9 miles of groomed trails in its system of five loops.  The trails are groomed for both skate-skiing and classic two-track skiing.  Several of the trails are lit for night skiing.  Most of the trails are very accessible for beginning skiers.

We skied for about an hour on an intermediate length loop.  The melt and freeze cycle had made Kalamazoo un-skiable, but Muskegon's groomed tracks were fine.  The classic tracks were a little icy, since there hadn't been any recent snow, but not too slippery to be enjoyable.  The wide section, groomed for skate-skiing, had a very good surface.
Besides the ski trails, they offer an ice skating trail through the woods and multiple ice rinks.  The skating attractions were very popular on a sunny Sunday.  A lodge offers skate and ski rentals, hot chocolate, cookies and other snacks, and a warming fire.  It's also where you purchase ski and skate passes.
Muskegon's Winter Sports Complex is probably best known for its luge track, one of three places to luge in the United States.  We didn't try the fast little sleds that day, although I did spend an afternoon learning to luge on the beginners track, nearly twenty years ago.
Muskegon Winter Sports Complex
462 Scenic Drive
N. Muskegon, MI  49445

Ski pass $7
Skate pass $5
luge $40 
parking: State Park passport or fee

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Maple Syrup Festivals 2013

As Winter becomes Spring, cold nights and warmer days provide the temperature differential to get the maple sap flowing, which means syrup season is here.   

2013 Maple Syrup Events near Kalamazoo
March 2-3 Maple Sugar Madness Sarett Nature Center Benton Harbor
March 2-3 Maple Sugar Time Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Chesterton, Indiana
March 8 Maple Syrup by Moonlight 7 pm Bendix Woods County Park New Carlisle, IN

March 9 Sugarbush Festival  Blandford Nature Center Pancake Breakfast  9am-12noon Grand Rapids 
March 9-10 Maple Sugar Time Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Chesterton, Indiana

March 16-17 Maple Sugar Festival Kalamazoo Nature Center Kalamazoo

March 16-17 Sugar Camp Days Bendix Woods County Park, New Carlisle, IN

March 16 Community Sugarbush Tours Blandford Nature Center 2- 3:30pm Grand Rapids

April 19 - 20 Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival, Wakarusa, Indiana

April 26-28 73rd Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival Vermontville

Also consider
Kalamazoo-area Spring Events 2013

Oakland County Maple Syrup Events

National Maple Syrup Festival Medora, IN

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup festivals in the Midwest (mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota)
Michigan is in the top 10 largest maple syrup producers, a list led by Quebec.  Last fall, thieves raided Quebec's Strategic Syrup Reserve, which producers use to control prices.  21st Century Maple Syrup Production does use some new technology.