2011 Honeybee Fair a Huge Success - Thank You!
by Cindy Cottingham
February 21, 2011
Lacy, the Honey Queen!
Thank you so much to everyone who pitched in and made the 2011 Honeybee Fair such a successful event! Over 200 folks came from around Indiana, and everyone left with a better understanding of the importance of honeybees and ways to support them.
SIBA members Garry Reeves, Kathy Reeves, Tim Conley, Mike Kissell, Rosie Kissell, Bob Hughes, Jim Farmer, John Miller, Regina Faulkner, Rick Faulkner, Joan Chester, Paul Lageman, Emily Beckman, Ed Johnson, Debbie Johnson and I staffed the Fair and spent many hours creating displays, recruiting and coordinating vendors, publicizing the event, collecting and distributing door prizes, setting up the hall and tearing down. I was truly amazed at the efficiency with which the VFW was converted from Bingo parlor to Honeybee Fair, and even more impressed at how quickly and efficiently it went back.
Jason Morgan developed and maintained this website and the fliers for the fair. Lots of members hung posters, posted information about the fair in other public forums, invited friends, family and colleagues, and generally helped get the word out. Emily Beckman even opened her home to house our overnight guest, Indiana Honey Queen Lacy Dooley.
VFW vice commander Fred Elliott worked to secure the hall and food service for the day. He navigated the red tape and worked with the Laughery Valley Fish and Game Club to obtain the use of the hall at no cost the SIBA. Fred also helped publicize the event and made valuable suggestions about setting up the hall to make the event comfortable and accommodating to the attendees.
Jimmy Orem especially deserves an enormous thank you. Without his leadership, this event never could have happened. Jimmy formed the idea for the Fair in his mind, then convened a committee to see it through to fruition. He is responsible for bringing in the amazing speakers who did such a wonderful job. Jimmy also served as the primary coordinator of the Fair, keeping track of who was doing what and helping to ensure that everyone stayed on the same page. Jimmy was not able to attend the event himself, but his presence was seen in felt in how smoothly the day went. The mark of a good leader is the ability to put all the pieces in place ahead of time so that even without his physical presence, things went pretty well as he intended. Of course there were a few "bugs" (pun intended!) here and there, but any undertaking of this scale is sure to have those. I feel quite confident that Jimmy would have been tickled pink with the way the Fair ran. Jim's dedication to the SIBA and to beekeeping in general is truly a blessing to our group and our area.
A special thank you as well is sent out to all our distinguished guests at the fair. 2011 Honey Queen Lacy Dooley traveled to us from Rockville, Indiana. She came a day early and took time to visit Milan Elementary School. Thanks to Lacy the third graders now have a better understanding of life inside a beehive and how important honeybees are to our food supply. Lacy also helped create displays for the fair, and spoke the crowd about the importance of honeybees and ways humans can help ensure their survival. She spent most of her day entertaining the youngest fair visitors and sharing her knowledge about honeybees with them.
Indiana Chief Apiary Inspector Kathleen Prough traveled down from Indianapolis Saturday morning and shared a wonderful presentation about gardening and landscaping, sharing techniques individuals can incorporate into their home garden plans. Kathleen shared examples of specifics plants that honeybees like, such as sunflowers, culinary herbs and hyssop; as well as planting and maintenance techniques, like creating mass plantings of a single flower and avoiding the use of chemicals or applying granular or liquid chemicals only when necessary and only under the appropriate conditions to ensure bees get the most benefit and least harm from our practices.
Purdue University Extension Educator Roy Ballard spoke in the afternoon, instructing his listeners on steps they can take to establish large scale pasture for bees using "waste" areas like fence rows, ditches and unused fields. Roy took the audience step by step through the process from site selection and evaluation, to seed selection and planting, to mowing and reseeding. He listed several plants that can be used for bee pasture, including several clovers, buckwheat and alfalfa, but emphasized that the specific conditions of the area being considered should determine which crop would be most appropriate.
Steve Doty from the Indiana Beekeepers's Association graciously stepped up to the podium and presented information on how to get started in beekeeping. He addressed the state of beekeeping in Indiana and talked about different methods of acquiring bees. Kenny Schneider, Ron Meyers and Tony Stewart also represented the larger organization well and offered attendees the opportunity to purchase beekeeping equipment and order honeybees. We were delighted to have them down.
Dave Wagner traveled from Brownstown, Indiana to offer beekeeping equipment and Indiana honey to our visitors. He took orders for locally produced bees and queens. Dave had a lovely display and was a wonderful asset to our Honeybee Fair.
Tim Schwipps of the Purdue Extension Service and Alice Priesmann of Whitetail Acres Nursery and Landscaping also created interesting displays and interacted with our guest to help make it a wonderful experience for all.
Many local media outlets supported the Honeybee Fair by publishing articles and conducting radio interviews. Special thanks to Caz Burdette of WRBI radio and Bubba Bo of WSCH for taking a few minutes of your morning shows to help us spread the word. The Versailles Republican and Dearborn County Register both published our articles and sent staff members to the event. The Batesville Herald Tribune and Madison Courier Journal also published our articles. We are grateful to them and to all other papers who published us. I sent the articles to so many papers, that I wasn't able to follow up to see who all got them in, but based on the crowd we had, the publicity was excellent!
My wonderful sister, Lisa Sellers, her husband Alfred Sellers, and our friend Amy Jacke have earned our sincere thanks for their work in photographing and videotaping the Honeybee Fair. They also helped us spread the word through facebook to make sure lots of people knew what was going on.
The final thank you goes to all who came out and attended the event. Without you, it would have been just a really neat bunch of displays surrounding an empty room. Your enthusiasm and generosity made the whole event worthwhile. I sincerely hope you learned some new things, met some great people and had a fun day.
My deepest apologies to anyone I have omitted from this list. We had so much support in putting this together it is simply overwhelming to try to remember everyone. I know I speak for Jimmy as well when I say again, thank you, thank you, a hundred times thank you to each and every one of you from the bottoms of our hearts. It is a privilege to work with such a splendid group of people. God Bless.