iloveny-stack.jpgMaple Sugaring Season Set to Begin in New York State New York, N.Y. - New York State (http://www.iloveny.com/) is offering a sweet and sticky treat for visitors starting in March as 115 maple producers across the State join together for the 15th Annual Maple Weekend (http://www.mapleweekend.com/).  New York is the third largest producer of maple syrup in the United States and 4th largest worldwide. During Maple Weekend, producers throughout the state will host free open houses to demonstrate how maple syrup and other related products are made in the region.  Maple Weekend events run from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on March 20, 21, 27 and 28.  In addition to demonstrating how maple syrup is tapped from trees, collected as sap, and boiled into syrup, producers will feature a variety of activities and maple products will be available for sampling and purchase. According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York State's approximately 1,500 maple syrup producers made more than 362,000 gallons of syrup in 2009 (a 10 percent increase from 2008), accounting for an estimated economic impact of over $55 million. A sampling of Maple Syrup Events and Maple Weekend participants are listed below. For more information, and a complete list of participants, visit http://www.mapleweekend.com/. To plan a New York State getaway visit http://www.iloveny.com/. Hudson Valley Maple Festival - Dutchess County, NY The Hudson Valley Maple festival is held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck for two weekends, March 20-21 and March 27-28, 2010 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Also, starting at 9 a.m., enjoy a pre-festival pancake breakfast. For more information call (845) 876-4000 or visit http://www.dutchessfair.com/. Maple Sugaring Open House - Bowdoin Park, NY Learn about maple sugaring on Saturday, March 13, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dutchess County park naturalists will teach the age old art of maple sugaring, exploring both modern and Native American methods used to create syrup. You'll experience demonstrations of tapping a sugar maple tree, boiling sap with hot rocks and by evaporator, and starting a fire by friction. For more information call (845) 298-4602 or visit http://www.dutchessny.gov/. Moore's Maple Shack & Pancake House - Freedom, NY The Moore family opens their Pancake House and sugar shack every March through the end of April. Their 5,600-tap maple operation is adjacent to the Sugar Shack, a pancake house serving all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes. On Maple Weekend, wagon rides to the sugar bush and sampling of maple cream, maple walnut brittle, maple nuts and other maple goodies will be available.  For more information visit http://www.mooresmaple.com/ or call (716) 492-2714. Randall's Maple Products - Alexander, NY Set in a picturesque location next to a pond, Eric and Eleanor Randall will offer tours of their sugarhouse, maple syrup making demonstrations and the chance to climb aboard an authentic, antique caboose.  For more information visit http://www.randallsmaple.com/ or call (585) 547-3596. Maple Glen Sugar House - Gowanda, NY Paul Lesefske's family welcomes visitors to their maple syrup production facility and new store. The sugarhouse tour consists of an oil-fired evaporator, reverse osmosis machine, filter press and a unique bottling machine. Visitors are encouraged to try the famous maple hotdogs boiled in maple sap. For more information visit http://www.mapleglensyrup.com/ or call (716) 532-5483. Merle Maple Farm - Attica, NY The Merle family runs a 16,000-tap operation with a reverse osmosis sap concentrator, conventional evaporators and a steam away. Activities for Maple Weekend will include wagon rides to the sugar bush, demonstrations of  the portable band saw mill and tree tapping. A kids' corner will feature calf petting, crafts and tour of the sap house. Visitors can sample maple cotton candy, maple mustard, pepper jelly and pure maple syrup. For more information visit http://www.merlemaple.com/ or call (585) 535-7136. For a comprehensive look into the world of American Maple Syrup: The American Maple Museum - Croghan, New York Exhibits depict the history of maple syrup and sugar making techniques ranging from those used by the Native Americans to plastic tubing and stainless steel evaporators in use today. Audio tapes explain many of the exhibits. The museum will be open March 27 - 28 from 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Pancake breakfast will be served from 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. A tour of the museum costs $4; audio tapes of the exhibits are available. For more information and museum hours call (315) 346-1107 or visit www.lcida.org/maplemuseum.html About New York State New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions.  New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls, to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like fishing, hiking and boating, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers.  For more information visit http://www.iloveny.com/.  Media can find press releases and more at thebeat.iloveny.com.

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Contact: Eric Scheffel Empire State Development (518) 292-5274 Lisa Willner Empire State Development Corporation (212) 803-3740