- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
After a two-year hiatus, the festival buzzed with life last Saturday, May 7 in downtown Woodland as visitors delighted in the bees, honey, music, food, arts and crafts, and children's activities. An estimated 40,000 attended, according to co-founder Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute.
The UC Davis-based California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP) drew scores of visitors asking questions about the bee observation hive brought by CAMBP member Peter Kritscher of Walnut Creek. CAMBP member Karen Kiyo of Berkeley fielded questions about the life cycle of bees, as her dog, Django, wearing a colorful cone, sat at her feet. Angie Nowicki of Rohnert Park kept busy making wildflower seed balls for children to take home and plant as a way to help bees and other pollinators. Also in the children's activity center, youths made bee-themed headgear.
Wendy Mather, program manager of CAMBP, donned a bee costume to greet the crowd. Youngsters rushed up to her, adults took photos, and at least one dog, a bulldog named Bentley, barked at her.
So much happiness. So many memories. So much fun.
The California Honey Festival, launched in 2017, aims to inspire "people of all ages to protect and celebrate bees and other pollinators," Harris said. Some 100 vendors rented space.
UC Davis participants included:
- The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center displayed its honey flavor wheel and offered free honey tasting.
- The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden addressed pollinator needs and gardening.
- The UC Davis Bookstores booth contained honey, books, and other gifts for sale.
- The Bohart Museum of Entomology of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology exhibited traveling bee specimen cases showing bee diversity. Visitors held the stick insects (walking sticks) from the live "petting zoo." (Photos to come)