- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The inaugural California Honey Festival, set Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland, promises to be both educational and entertaining, says coordinator Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
The event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will stretch four blocks on Main Street and side streets. It is free and open to the public.
Visitors will learn about bees, honey and beekeeping; sample honey; taste mead at the Mead Speakeasy; listen to live entertainment, and browse the many booths, including six UC Davis exhibits: Department of Entomology and Nematology, Bohart Museum of Entomology, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (a bee friendly garden), Art-Science Fusion Program, graduate students (research posters), and the California Master Beekeeper Program, managed by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis.
Beekeepers will compete for prizes and bragging rights in the Wildflower Honey Contest (submissions are due March 15). See http://californiahoneyfestival.com/honey-contest/
The event is coordinated by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. Sponsors include the National Honey Board, the American Beekeeping Federation.
“The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping through this unique educational platform, to the broader public,” said Harris. “The scope of the event includes a culinary stage, a garden stage, a speakers' forum in the Woodland Opera House, kids' zone, live entertainment and loads of vendors and food. In addition, restaurants in Woodland will have honey centric menus and drinks enhanced with honey. Mead anyone? We have a Mead Speakeasy with five meaderies already signed up.”
Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, based in Firestone, Colo., will be among those speaking on the Beekeeper Stage, one of five stages at the festival.
Among the other speakers:
- Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m., Paso Robles, and former manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility;
- Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Vicki Wojcik, research director of Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco
- Gene Brandi of Gene Brandi Apiaries, Los Banos (he is active in the California State Beekeepers' Association, the American Beekeeping Federation and the National Honey Board)
On the culinary stage will be Marie Simmons of Eugene, Ore., an award-winning cookbook author, food writer and story teller; Frank Golbeck, CEO of Golden Coast Mead, San Diego; Toby Barajas, executive chef at Savory Café on Main Street, Woodland; and Casey Willard, executive chef for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Capay Valley.
Sharing the Gardening Stage will be Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture; UC Davis Arboretum; and Chris Casey, program representative for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road.
Among the entertainers, as of Feb. 24: Mike Blanchard and the Californios, City of Trees Brass Band, Boca do Rio, Joe Craven and the Sometimers, Jared Johnson, Hannah Mayree, and the Gold Souls.
Education platforms will feature the Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel, a project of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center; a bee demonstration hive; and posters on pollinators, the life cycle of bees, and bee threats, including pesticides, pests and pathogens.
Vendors will include beekeepers, bee clubs, honey packers, beekeeping supplies, crafts people, food vendors, Harris said. She is seeking volunteers to help with the festival; she may be reached at email@example.com or 530-754-9301. In addition, there's still time to fill out a vendor application form; sign up for educational and entertainment activities, and become a sponsor.
It will be a busy weekend, Harris said, noting that the third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium, "Keeping Bees Healthy," will take place on Sunday, May 7 in the UC Davis Conference Center, the day after the California Honey Festival. The educational program is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees. The event will include speakers, displays of graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, "and much more," Harris said.
Keynote speaker at the Bee Symposium is Steve Sheppard, Thurber Professor of Apiculture and chair of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University, Pullman. Among the other speakers: Santiago Ramirez of the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology; Extension apiculturist Elina Nino of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; Maj Rundlof of the Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden, and Margaret Lombard, National Honey Board, based in Firestone, Colo. Registration begins March 1 at http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/2017-bee-symposium.