The official start of spring still is weeks away, but an outdoor festival scheduled for the first Saturday in March encourages people of all ages to celebrate a ritual of spring in Jeffrey Park, 165 N. Parkview Ave.

The sixth annual Jeffrey Woods Festival is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, in the park's Clifton Shelter House near the David H. Madison Community Pool.

The festival has become a tradition in which community members learn about how maple syrup is produced, tapping trees in Jeffrey Park, said Michael Price, director of the Bexley Recreation and Parks Department.

"The event itself has definitely grown. We have a lot more people attend" since the event's inception in 2014, Price said. "The process for tapping the maple syrup has gotten a lot better."

During the event, participants will collect about 400 gallons of sap, which yield 75 to 100 bottles of maple syrup, Price said.

"We've drastically increased the sap-to-syrup yield" since the festival began, he said.

In preparation for the festival, the department's staffers canvass the park to identify maple trees that can be tapped during the maple syrup-production workshop, said Ron Gould, Jeffrey Park grounds supervisor.

To produce enough sap, a tree "has to be more than 10 inches in diameter," Gould said.

March is prime time for syrup production because the weather is transitioning from colder to warmer temperatures, Gould said.

"The best is when it's freezing at night and in the 40s during the day," he said.

In addition to the syrup workshop, the festival will include wood chopping, wood working, axe sharpening and sawmill demonstrations. Registration is required for the wood-chopping demonstration.

Admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit bexley.org/woods.

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