Beckley, WV – (WWNR) – The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine was buzzing Saturday for the Sixth Annual Beckley Honey Festival.
Visitors could learn how to raise bees, taste and purchase local honey, see live honeybee demonstrations, watch informational videos, and even buy bee and honey related merchandise in the Rahall Company Store.
“We started six years ago with the Raleigh County Beekeepers Association,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Leslie Baker. “They came up with this idea and they came to us and said, we think you have a good place to do it.”
“There’s lots of West Virginia vendors, lots of local cottage industry, Hilltop Coffee. Of course, the beekeepers are doing their fundraiser, which is always the best roasted corn. I think this is one of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had, and God has blessed us with a beautiful, beautiful day.”
One of the most popular attractions at the Honey Festival was the Bee Hive, where Raleigh County Beekeepers Association President Mark Lilly shared the space with nearly 8,000 honeybees.
“Well, we do this for a living, so on a beautiful day like today, it’s no different than sitting under a shade tree, They’re really calm, they’re very quiet. They’re staying on the cone. So we do things at their pace. We have to be slow paced instead of trying to do everything in a hurry.”
There was also music on the front porch with the Long Point String Band, discounted tours of the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, and at the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia there were bee dissections and the popular Animation Land exhibit.
Lilly hopes that while attendees have fun at the Honey Festival, they also learn about the importance of bees to the agricultural industry worldwide.
“I’d like for them to realize that there are different flavors of honey. Unlike at the store where everything’s the same color and the same taste local honey, one, is beneficial for you if you have allergies, and two, it lets you meet the people who keep bees in your community and to see all the different flavors that can happen with honey.”
The Beckley Honey Festival is held on the third Saturday in August and is part of the Appalachian Festival, which runs through August 27th in Beckley.