Seal of Caroll County, Maryland

Recreation and Parks

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Festivals & Special Events

Each year, Bear Branch Nature Center hosts two large festivals, the Maple Sugarin’ Fesitval in March and the Monarch Festival in September.

Maple Sugarin’ Festival and Pancake Breakfast

Traditionally held the first Sunday in March, the Maple Sugarin’ Festival heralds the arrival of spring with pancake breakfast featuring genuine maple syrup. Early spring is the ideal time for syrup making. The warm days and cold nights cause the sap to flow through the maple trees, allowing it to be collected and boiled in to delicious maple syrup.

Besides the breakfast, the Maple Sugarin’ Festival features living history presentations at the Martin Cabin, activities and displays sponsored by local interest groups such as the Four County Quilters’ Guild and Carroll County Beekeepers, and sap-boiling demonstrations. Activities will be on-going at Bear Branch Nature Center as well. Real maple syrup will be available for purchase.

There is a $5.00 parking fee.

Monarch Madness Festival

The Monarch Madness Festival celebrates the migration of the Monarch butterfly. These beautiful creatures fly 2,000 miles to overwintering sites in Mexico. However, this migration is threatened by deforestation and loss of natural habitat. Through programs such as Monarch Watch, the staff at Hashawha Environmental Center, Bear Branch Nature Center, and the Carroll County Outdoor School help to monitor and track Monarchs along their migration route.

Not only does the Monarch Madness Festival help to bring attention to this wonderful annual migration, it gives visitors a chance to learn more about the monarch life cycle and discover new ways to help the Monarch in their own back yards. Games, music, food, and wagon rides all add to the festive atmosphere.

There is a $5.00 parking fee.