Tenth annual Bee Fest a buzzing success

  • The Expandable Brass Band leads a parade march through the farmers market and around the Greenfield Common during the 10th annual Langstroth Bee Fest on Saturday morning. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Harper Hake, 7, takes her turn at breaking the bee piñata hanging over the crowd during the 10th annual Langstroth Bee Fest on Saturday morning in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • A bee piñata hangs over the crowd during the 10th annual Langstroth Bee Fest. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Bees swarm in a tree on the Greenfield Common during the Langstroth Bee Fest Saturday morning. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Bee-themed items up for bit in the silent auction during the Langstroth Bee Fest. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • People gather on the lawn of the Second Congregational Church for the festival. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Dancers from Karen’s School of Dance perform for the crowd during the 10th annual Langstroth Bee Fest on Saturday morning in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Bee-themed items up for bit in the silent auction during the 10th annual Langstroth Bee Fest on Saturday morning in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

For The Recorder
Published: 6/3/2019 12:09:20 AM

GREENFIELD – The lawn in front of Greenfield’s Second Congressional Church was buzzing with hundreds of community members celebrating the 10th Langstroth Bee Fest on Saturday.

Held Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, the annual festival celebrates bees and the importance of beekeeping education.

Saturday’s activities included performances by dancers from Karen’s Dance Studio, bee-themed arts and crafts, a silent auction, a bee piñata and a parade led by the Pioneer Valley’s Expandable Brass Band.

“A lot of this is education, but we do it in a fun format,” said organizer and founder of Bee Fest, Sandy Thomas. “So, we have lots of activities for the kids: making bee crowns and bee wands and marching a parade through the farmers market to bring that agricultural part in.”

Bees themselves even joined in the fun as a swarm appeared over the festival following the parade.

Bee Fest honors the late Rev, Lorenzo Langstroth, who was a pastor of the Second Congressional Church from 1843 to 1848 and is credited with inventing the modern beehive in 1851.

According to Thomas, it takes about six months of planning to put on Bee Fest, which has grown significantly since it began 10 years ago.

When it was first held, Thomas said maybe 20 to 25 kids came to Bee Fest. Now hundreds of people attend the free event.

“The Franklin County Beekeepers Association are our big partners. They work with us for six months out of the year in putting it together and I just am so grateful for their expertise and for their help. They bring a lot of beekeepers and they just promote the whole idea of beekeeping in a safe way,” Thomas said of the group that has worked with the church to put on Bee Fest for all 10 years.

She said this year “is bigger than we’ve ever had.” One of the best parts for Thomas is seeing more and more local partners and businesses become involved.

While many of the attendees of Bee Fest have been coming for years, the Terry family visited for their first time on Saturday.

Susan, Dan and Meghan Terry, 11, saw a Facebook post from the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association about Bee Fest and decided to make the hour and a half drive from their home in Methuen.

Dan Terry said beekeeping is always something he has been interested in, and now it’s something he gets to do with his daughter Meghan.

“He has a garden, and figured ‘why not bring some bees into the mix,’” Susan Terry said about her husband Dan.

Around noon, with the help of bagpipes and a drum roll, artist Rachael Katz unveiled her fiberglass bee sculpture, “Beatrice.”

Six more sculptures similar to Beatrice will be created and displayed around the town over the next year. A jury will select six professional artists to paint each of the other sculptures any way they would like.

“It could be ‘The Starry Night’ by Van Gogh, it could be a map of Greenfield, we don’t know what it’s going to be. It’s up to [the artists],” Thomas said.


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