Honey Festival
23rd September 2023

We held our Honey Festival, in glorious sunshine, on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023 in the Heritage Centre and parish grounds. 
Friday was a frenzy of activity with many volunteers helping to erect the marquees, tables, gazebos, hang over 1,000 pieces of art and poetry and adorn the Hall and grounds with colourful bunting!  Then at 5pm the honey started to arrive - 1682 entries of floral, heather and cut comb to be registered by Anita.
It’s always a very early start on Saturday to finalise any last minute details, welcome our Stallholders new and existing, and ‘open the gates’!
Estimates of 3,500 visitors joined in the celebration of this joyful community event; arriving from early morning to first taste, and then stock up on the honey from our ABKA beekeepers. 
How wonderful to have our founding member Joe Good together with our youngest beekeeper Isobel Martin share their knowledge with the curious children at the Observation Hive.
The grounds were literally buzzing; refreshments, Barista coffee, gourmet burgers at the  decorated Airstream BBQ, strawberries and ice cream, mead tasting, bee friendly plants and all to a background of cool jazz from our regular musicians. This year, Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer Wicklow Co. Council joined in the fun with their Barn Owl Project.
As usual, the children’s participation in the Art & Poetry competitions, bee friendly quiz, interactive drama, finding the Queens in our two Observation Hives on display, and general mayhem was just glorious. Thanks to the many generous sponsors our Raffle Table was filled with great prizes.

Our guest speaker Dr. Matthew Jebb enthralled a full hall with his talk on the ‘Co-evolution of bees and flowers’ which was fascinating. What a charismatic speaker!

The sun shone just until the last marquee was down, so we were really blessed with the weather.
Early Sunday morning the cleanup  crew arrived and blitzed the Hall and grounds before handing back to Sheila and the Committee.
But, of course, none of this is possible without our wonderful volunteers who give so generously of their time; engage in our planning meetings and nothing is ever too much trouble. 
Also, a huge thanks to our Sponsors who believe in the concept of community and are aligned with ABKA’s objectives. 
Amazing Teamwork and looking to next year when ABKA will celebrate its 50th anniversary!  View some lovely images of the day here

© Copyright Ashford and District Beekeepers Association