Woburn Abbey courtyard and gardens provided a beautiful setting for a new event in our calendar, the Honey Festival on Saturday 30 September. A wide range of stalls were there to appeal to visiting members of the public, including the ever-popular observation have, skep-making with Ray Smith, and a much-frequented display of local honeys and other edibles for tasting and purchase. Many members of the Association ran the stalls or helped to talk to the 450 or so visitors, who also had full access to the Honey Show inside.
Around 10% of members entered for the Show this year, with over 250 items. The judges praised the excellent organisation and overall quality of the entries. One of the many eye-catching and prize-winning items was a nativity scene ingeniously constructed from beekeeping materials, with figures cast in beeswax from a church apiary, using moulds specially made from models hand-carved in Bethlehem.
Show Secretary Fiona Cook commented: “Woburn Abbey was very happy to have hosted Beds BKA, and we were delighted to be there. The very friendly, positive atmosphere has received much comment. It seemed to come about from a combination of the welcoming and very professional staff at Woburn and our own ethos and teamwork as a charity, with so many willing helpers.”
Another ingredient may have been the real interest and willingness to engage with bees and beekeeping on the part of visitors: the public attitude has really changed in a very positive direction.
We hope to return to Woburn next year, perhaps in early September in the hope of warmer weather, and on a Sunday, perhaps with other rural crafts represented.