VISITORS SWARM TO ALPINE HONEY FESTIVAL

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By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 13, 2017 (Alpine) -- Alpine’s First Annual Honey Festival, held March 11th, included teaching youths in their community about the history of their land.  That history includes honey and its production. In fact, this region was once the honey producing capitol of the world! Kids dressed up as bees and participated in an art show that portrayed bees and hives, with major doses of yellow and black.  But teaching kids about their local history was just a part of the festival.

Marion Roberts offered honey served on nectarine bread, strawberry bread and cornbread. Vendors at the Alpine Community Center sold grapefruit tinged honey, clover honey, and even spicy ginger ambrosia honey that consisted of raw honey and bee pollen. Bee pollen products were sold as well.

Bee friendly gardens, actual hives, and vendors like Elsa Razo of Luscious Lemonades served up lemonade with Tajin ringed glasses and fruit bowls in front of the Alpine Woman’s Club. All were part and parcel of the festival.

Roberts, owner of Back in Time Vintage Emporium, was the birth mother of a honey festival which recently  was celebrated at Alpine’s Christ the King Church.  Beekeeper Richard Edwards, who participated in Roberts’ festival, relayed the idea of hosting a honey festival to the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and the new, citywide festival was set in motion. 

Mary Rynearson, president of the Chamber, also credited a former Chamber leader for pushing for the festival as well.  Additionally, many area businesses lent their support to this first ever citywide celebration of honey.

The first citywide festival set up six stops on its shuttle route:  Alpine Historical Society, Christ the King Church, Alpine Community Center, Alpine Woman’s Club, Dana’s Boutique & Back in Time Vintage Emporium, and Alpine Garden & Gifts.  A shuttle from St. Madeline’s Sophie’s Center picked up visitors at the Joan MacQueen Middle School. Visitors could hop on and off at will.

Retired optometrist Dr. Bob Meisel contributed by playing the part of John S. Harbison.  Harbison was the man behind making and patenting the Harbison Hive in 1859 as well as an acknowledged beekeeper in his own right.  (Read our story on Harbison, known as the King of the Bees, here.)

On the shuttle bus to the festival sites, visitors shared bee jokes such as “What do bees chew?  Bumble gum.”  Volunteers on the bus did not just drop visitors off at each stop, but shared history about John S. Harbison and other local stories.

Bee happy.  That phrase was heard many times and will no doubt be heard at the 2018 Alpine Honey Festival.