Warmer days, freezing nights. The sap is running – sporadically – just in time for Maine Maple Sunday, following a topsy-turvy stretch of winter weather that’s enabled sap to flow a little earlier than usual, only to be halted at times by late-season chills.

This weekend Maine will celebrate the 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday, held every year on the fourth Sunday of March.

Sugarhouses will be open for visitors to enjoy freshly made maple syrup and candy, demonstrations of syrup production, sugarbush tours and other family activities.

Some central Maine producers got an early jump on tapping their trees this year after a prolonged thaw in January and February.

Skowhegan’s Maple Fest, which celebrates Somerset County’s status as the top maple-producing county in the United States, kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Friday with sap collecting at Chez Londorf on Burrill Hill Road, off Bigelow Hill Road. The public is invited to join Skowhegan Area High School art teacher Iver Lofving in collecting maple sap.

The Londorf sugarhouse, with its wood-fired evaporator in the woods, was built in 2002 by vocational and technical students at the school.

Lofving, like many other maple producers, said he started tapping his 325 maple tree at the end of February. But the sap flow has slowed and stopped a couple of times since then, when the temperature dipped into the teens and single numbers during the day.

“It’s been running very sporadically and it’s been sort of cold, so we haven’t gotten very much yet, but we have had a couple boils,” Lofving said on Monday.

“The temperatures have been below freezing and when there’s no liquid water, there’s no sap flowing.”

Sap tends to flow when daytime temperature is above 32 degrees and when nighttime temperature dips back below freezing.

Mike Meagher, at the Maine-iac Maple Farm and specialty store on Mitchell Road in Richmond, said he uses 250 taps.

He also started tapping at the end of February and started boiling three or four days after that.

“It ran good for awhile at the beginning,” Meagher said. “Then we had about 10 days a week ago when it was below freezing night and day.

It was really cold and it didn’t run at all. We didn’t boil for about 10 days.”

Some sugarhouses will hold events on both Saturday and Sunday. For a list and map of participating sugar houses, visit the Maine Maple Producers website.

Weather forecasts in central Maine call for partly sunny skies Saturday and Sunday, with high temperature reaching the lower 40s and upper 30s.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

[email protected];