‘A perfect day for music and bees’: Greenfield’s pollinator history celebrated at 12th annual Bee Fest

  • Bee lovers attend Greenfield’s 2022 Bee Fest. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Bee lovers attend Greenfield’s 2022 Bee Fest. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Bee lovers attend Greenfield’s 2022 Bee Fest. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Bee lovers attend Greenfield’s 2022 Bee Fest. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Mary Chicoine talks about her book-themed bee at the Greenfield Gallery, which will be moved in front of the new Greenfield Public Library when construction is finished. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Bee lovers parade through Greenfield as they take a tour of the three new bee sculptures unveiled around the city on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Artist Nancy Baker stands next to her quilt-themed bee in front of Greenfield Savings Bank on Federal Street on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Angela and Isaac Mass, co-owners of the Garden Cinemas, stand next to the movie-themed bee unveiled outside the theater for Bee Fest on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Artist Samantha Wood, of local group Exploded View, looks at a beehive that was brought to the Pushkin Gallery for their “BeeLines” exhibit. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 5/21/2022 10:31:08 PM

GREENFIELD — The buzz of excitement was palpable in the streets of Greenfield on Saturday.

With the Expandable Brass Band leading the way, festival-goers were given their first look at three new bee sculptures during the 12th annual Bee Fest, which celebrates the pollinators and the history of beekeeping in Greenfield.

Each year, a variety of bee-themed, family-friendly events are held around the city in celebration of Lorenzo Langstroth, the pastor of the Second Congregational Church during the mid-1800s, who developed the original vertical beehive with frames, which has been adapted for modern use around the world.

The celebration kicked off on Friday night with the opening of local art group Exploded View’s “BeeLines” exhibit at the Pushkin Gallery. Featuring both audio and visual interactive installations, the group wanted to convey the importance of bees through their motion and resilience. The group consists of local artists Samantha Wood, Trish Crapo, Edite Cunha and Nina Rossi.

“For us, it’s trying to find our way through the pandemic,” Wood said, invoking honeybees’ communicative behavior and how that’s similar to people working together through dark times. “They come back to the hive and communicate how to survive.”

The exhibit featured four hanging installations that invited people to step inside and listen to a short audio clip exploring bee behavior and biology. Wood said these installations were designed to evoke the feeling of a bee entering a cell in a hive. Folks could also look at a live beehive frame, where the insects were wriggling about as they sucked down sugar water.

This is the third year Exploded View has created an exhibit for Bee Fest, and with so much effort put into researching bees, Wood said her group has built up quite the repertoire of bee knowledge.

“Our group (members) aren’t bee experts,” she said, “but it’s become a sub-specialty because of this festival.”

In attendance Friday was Sandy Thomas, founder and lead organizer of Bee Fest, who said she was excited for Saturday’s events.

“It’s all just so joyous,” Thomas said ahead of Saturday morning’s activities. “It’s all about meshing education about bees and why they’re important,” while also raising awareness about their “plight” with bee populations declining around the world.

Saturday brought a packed morning schedule, which avoided the afternoon’s blazing temperatures, as families gathered by the Second Congregational Church and Greenfield Farmers’ Market to play games and make crafts before the Expandable Brass Band led a parade around.

Expandable Brass Band member Bob Dworak emphasized that without bees pollinating plants, food sources will dwindle.

“Without them,” he said, “we don’t eat.”

This year’s festival also included the unveiling of three new bee sculptures — making nine total around Greenfield — with a movie-themed one in front of the Garden Cinemas, a quilt-themed one in front of Greenfield Savings Bank on Federal Street, and a book-themed bee at the Greenfield Gallery, which will be moved to the new library when construction is finished. The bees were designed by Andrew Easton, Nancy Baker and Mary Chicoine.

Issac and Angela Mass, co-owners of the Garden Cinemas, said they love Bee Fest and the positive energy it brings to the city.

“Any chance to celebrate home is good by us,” Isaac Mass said. “There’s a lot of negative stuff out there. It’s really nice to have something that is only positive.”

Speaking in front of the bee at Greenfield Savings Bank, President and CEO John Howland told the group that events like Bee Fest celebrate the artistic talent of the community and bring people downtown.

“I really appreciate what the town is doing to promote the arts,” Howland said. “I think it’s awesome and hopefully bringing people into our downtown.”

At the Greenfield Gallery, Chicoine said she was hopeful her bee, titled “Take Flight Through Reading,” inspires people to take joy in reading, which she said is one of her favorite activities.

“It’s spreading the enthusiasm of escaping into books. I hope people will get as much joy and inspiration from this as I did,” she said. “It’s an expression of how I am that we’re getting a new library.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081. Reporter Julian Mendoza contributed reporting.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy