SNOW WAS FLYING IN PICKENS - Maple Syrup Festival Draws Visitors

Maple Sugar Festival weekend at Pickens (Photos By Bernard Taylor)

When nights are freezing and days begin to warm, it's maple sugar time in Pickens.

The snow begins to melt, the ice begins to thaw and the sap begins to rise in the Randolph County sugar trees.

The trees are drilled and a spout is placed in the tap hole where either a bucket or plastic pipeline that connects each tree is hung. The sap drips into the buckets or flows through the line to storage tanks.

The sap is then taken to a sugar house where it is boiled down in large evaporating pans making the thick, golden syrup.

Here's the killer. It takes about 45 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. The hot syrup is then filtered and packed into storage jugs.

The 2004 festival had lots of visitors yesterday, even through the chilly temperatures.

They are use to it at Pickens, which is in one of the state's snow belts.

This beautiful handmade quilt was for sale

An old-fashioned Hanson Kettle did the corn popping

"Ladies keep you filled-up with pancakes syrup, sausage, milk, coffee, butter and cream and keep the tables set for new guests it is a full time job, the building is heated by a wood stove," says Bernard Taylor

Keeping the syrup hot