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Friday, July 19, 2024

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You Won’t Bee-Lieve This Year’s Bartow Honeybee Fair

by James Coulter

Downtown Bartow proved to be busy as a bee last Saturday during its Annual Honeybee Festival. Several hundred vendors lined Main Street and the nearby streets selling various arts and crafts, many related to honey and bees.

The Ridge Beekeepers Association and a few other vendors showcased hives with real-life bees to demonstrate how honey is produced, while several other vendors served raw honey and honey-related food and products.

The annual event was started long ago when the Ridge Beekeepers wanted to partner with Main Street Bartow for the annual craft fair. The event was since renamed the Honeybee Fair, and since then, it has been an annual fall season tradition.

Linda Holcomb, Executive Director of Main Street Bartow, was blown away by this year’s turnout, which proved to be bigger and better than last year’s event. She attributes the success to not only hosting the event alongside the Bartow Chalk Walk but also to its long-running reputation.

“I think partly because of the reputation it has, we have grown and doubled our vendors this year. So part of that is reputation, advertising, and word of mouth,” she said. “The turnout is better than expected. We expected good crowds, but we have exceeded that. It has been packed. I think it is going to be our best year yet.”

The Honeybee Festival shared the same date as the Bartow Chalk Walk. The decision to host both events on the same weekend proved beneficial, as both events drew double the crowds downtown, Holcomb said.

“That chalk walk was previously hosted in October, but it kept being rained out,” she explained. “So we decided to incorporate it into the Honeybee Fair so that the honeybee crowd could get a finer taste of some of the marks of chalk artists and it has grown popular also. Both events have helped each other.”

Main Street Bartow will be hosting its annual Magic on Main holiday event next Friday around sundown. The downtown area will be cast aglow in holiday lights and decorations with an appearance by Santa Claus himself and even real snow.

“If everything goes as it has been going, they will be bigger than they have ever been,” Holcomb said. “Our events keep getting better and better.”

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Staff Reporter

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