- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
And Amina Harris would love it if you're interested in participating in this event or volunteering.
Harris directs the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, which is sponsoring the inaugural California Honey Festival on Saturday, May 6 in downtown Woodland. It's free and open to the public.
The event, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. , will stretch four blocks on Main Street and side streets. It promises to be both educational and entertaining. Think honey. Think mead. Think bees. Think beekeeping. Think live music (along with the live bees.) Think fun.
The many booths will include six from UC Davis: Department of Entomology and Nematology; Bohart Museum of Entomology; the department's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven; 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.
“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.”
National sponsors include the National Honey Board, the American Beekeeping Federation.
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 (do you know who your pollinators are and where they are?), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (much-loved) sponsor.
Already the festival is shaping up to be "the place to bee" on Saturday, May 6. And the next day--Sunday, May 7--is the third annual UC Davis Bee Symposium at the UC Davis Conference Center. It's about "Keeping Bees Healthy." (See website.)