Why You Should Bee-Coming to the California Honey Festival

Here's why you should bee-coming to the second annual California Honey Festival, set from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 5 in downtown Woodland.

Think fun, food, friends, family, and free.

The honey-of-an-event--attendance is free--promises to be both entertaining and educational.

Don't know much about bees or honey? Or have questions? You'll find out from the experts.

"This year's festival is like a growing beehive," said Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, which is partnering with the City of Woodland to stage the event. What can folks expect? "Everything that happened last year, but more, better and bigger!"

Last year they anticipated 3,000. Were they ever surprised when they drew a crowd of 20,000. Even more are expected this year as folks make a "bee line" to Woodland.

The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping, Harris says. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy.  Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.

One of the highlights: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, California's state apiculturist, and a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, will be "opening a bee hive to show attendees just how a bee hive works," said Harris. "The intriguing catch? The hive will be full of bees!"

Nino, working in a circular screened tent, will explain exactly how the beehive works. She will show the difference between the queen and the workers and drones; explain how bees draw out wax in the frames and store honey in the cells; talk about how the frames are placed within the hive to maximize the bees' efficiency; and field questions. Her "live bee" demonstrations are scheduled for 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:45 in the bee tent, UC Davis Stage.

The crowd can also learn what to plant in their gardens to feed the bees and other pollinators. Honey bees pollinate one-third of the American diet.

Although admission to the festival is free, there will be plenty of opportunities to order food and drinks from booths, restaurants and bars. Drinks will include mead and honey beers on tap.

Yes, there will be cooking demonstrations featuring honey. Yes, you'll be able to sample honey at the free honey tastings. Yes, there's a Kids' Zone. Yes, live bands will perform throughout the day. They include Gold Souls, City of Trees Brass Band, Sam Chance and the Untraditonal, Cameron Calloway, and Mojo Green. (See festival schedule)

Question: If bees perform the waggle dance--which they do--what do happy human beings perform at a California Honey Festival?

You'll just have to "bee there" to find out!