1:48 AM / Friday October 23, 2020

6 Sep 2019

Hey! Honey!

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September 6, 2019 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Philly Beekeepers Guild members are happy to answer questions and teach.

This weekend, learn all you could possibly want to know about honeybees and their importance to our existence while participating in family-friendly activities and touring historic sites at the 10th annual Philadelphia Honey Festival, Sept. 6-8.

By Denise Clay

When many of us think of Philadelphia, we don’t necessarily think of honeybees.

But Kathy May, a member of the Philadelphia Beekeeper’s Guild, thinks that you should. Beekeepers are all over the city, she said, and while many of them aren’t churning out enough honey to make a living at it, they’re committed to it, she said.

“The City of Philadelphia has about 300 beekeepers, 170 members of the Beekeepers Guild,” she said. “I have two hives in my backyard and you can find beehives on rooftops here in the city.”

Beekeepers show how many kinds of honey there are.

While there are the usual challenges connected to raising bees including keeping them free from disease, and making sure they have the space to thrive here in Philadelphia, the honey produced by the city’s bees is top notch, May said.

“There’s a diverse supply of food, with the river ways and the flowers here,” she said. “It produces some nice tasting honey due to that variety.”

You’ll be able to sample some of the honey produced by the City’s honeybees in a variety of ways ranging from food and drink to how to take your honey from hive to table at this weekend’s 10th annual Philadelphia Honey Festival.

The festival is organized by the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild and is sponsored by Honeygrow, The Soulful Project, Philly Homebrew Outlet, Mom’s Organic Market of Center City, Colony Meadery of Allentown and GRID Philly Magazine.

Learn how honey is removed from the comb.

The three-day festival, which is being held in three of Philadelphia’s most historic backyards —- Glen Foerd on the Delaware, Wyck Historic House, and Bartram’s Garden —- attracts anywhere from 2,500-3,000 bee enthusiasts.

In 2010, the first Honey Festival was held to acknowledge the placement of an historic marker at 106 South Front St., honoring Lorenzo L. Langstroth, the inventor of the first moveable frame hive designed on the concept of “bee space.” The Beekeepers Guild had been founded the previous year.

In addition to honey tastings, open hive demonstrations, honey extraction, house and garden tours, and guild member Don Shump’s beard made of bees, there are some new additions to this year’s festival, May said. On Friday night, Glen Foerd plays host to the Bee-Happy Hour. In addition to live music and food, Philly Home Brew will be offering craft beers and different flavors of mead, a honey-based drink. There will also be honey cocktails served by the Red Brick Craft Distillery.

Saturday at the Wyck House, home-based brew masters will be taking part in the Philadelphia Honey Home Brew challenge and creating their own special meads with Colony Meadery looking on.

Don Shump displays his Bee Beard.

At Bartram’s Garden on Sunday, two West Philadelphia-based beekeepers —- Stephanie Brown and Sam Torres —- will be sharing their insights on how they do what they do. 

Bee-themed artistic expression will also be a part of the Honey Festival, May said. On Sunday, Bartram’s Garden will play host to the annual Children’s Bee Parade. While many youngsters will wear their own costumes, children will be able to make them on site as well. 

There will also be a means for those who have immortalized their love of bees on their bodies to get their moment in the sun, May said.

“There’s going to be a bee tattoo contest,” she said. “People were asked to send pictures of bee tattoos —- on G-rated body parts only —- that showcase the spirit of the pollinators.”

The Philadelphia Honey Festival is free for all three days and open to the public. To get a rundown on the fesitval’s activities, including directions to all of the venues for the festival, go to


The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild is proud to present this festival for the 10th year along with their three partners.  It may sound “too sweet,” but they really do have something for everyone!  Honey sampling, music, children’s activities, informative talks on bees, adult beverages, demonstrations on all aspects of beekeeping, great food, vendor marketplaces, and the list goes on. 

Learn more about this great event at:

You can contact the Honey Fest Team at: [email protected]


Glen Foerd on the Delaware (Grant Ave. & Milnor St., Philadelphia 19114) hosts the official kick off and the Bee-Happy Hour for Honey Festival 2019! The event runs Friday, September 6th, from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. This evening event is a great chance to sample all the activities which comprise the Honey Festival. There truly is something for everyone this night! 

5:00pm-9:00pm Ongoing Activities:

Lawn Games

Vendor Market Place: Visit with local vendors and organizations selling honey-based products, natural products and providing demonstrations including information about home beer brewing and mead making.

5:30pm – Open Hive Talk – Join us for an Open Hive talk with members of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild.  See what happens inside the hive! 


6:30pm – BEE BEARD!  The ever-popular event features Don Shump, Philadelphia Bee Company, who will create a beard of bees on his face!

7:30pm – Keynote Speaker: Doug Sponslor (PhD, postdoc at Penn State University; research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences) will talk about urban pollinators. His talk will also serve as the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild Monthly Meeting.

8:30pm – Honey Extraction – so you have a hive full of honey…now what?! See how honey goes from hive to table!


Next, Wyck Historic House, Garden, and Farm (6026 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, 19144) offers a full day of events on Saturday, September 7 from 10 am – 4 pm. Special features include the 2nd Annual Colony Meadery sponsored Honey Home Brew Challenge, the mead tent for demonstrations and sampling, ongoing children’s activities, and a vendor marketplace.

10 am- 4 pm — Ongoing Activities:

Tour Wyck House– Learn about the Quaker family who called Wyck home for nine generations.  Vendor Market Place: Visit with local vendors and organizations selling honey based products, natural products and providing demonstrations including information about home beer brewing and mead making.  

Philadelphia Food Trucks – on site to be announced.

11:00 am- 3:00 pm Ongoing Children’s Activities –  Join us in the shaded area close to the carriage house for educational and fun BEE activities! 

10:30 am Open Hive Talk – Take a peek into a real live beehive; a real live beekeeper will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about honey bees

12:00 noon Honey Extraction – How Do You Get the Honey Away From the Bees? Watch as honey is taken from the honeycomb and take a taste!

12:00 noon to 4:00 pm Mead Tent Event and Honey Home Brew Challenge.  

12:30 pm Open Hive Talk – What’s Going on in There?  Join us at the beehives by the greenhouses to watch and learn from the beekeeper

1:30 pm Honey Extraction – See how the honey goes from the honeycomb to the jar through the “magic” of centrifugal force

2:00 pm Bee Beard!  

3:30 pm Open Hive Talk – Get up close and personal, if you dare!  Watch and ask questions, as a beekeeper “works the bees”


Bartram’s Garden (54th Street & Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, 19143) hosts the final day of the festival on Sunday, September from 10 am – 4 pm. Special features include a children’s carnival, Children’s Bee Parade, a marketplace with local crafts, beer making demonstrations and two informative talks by local west Philly beekeepers. 

10am – 4pm Ongoing Activities

Children’s Carnival – Make your own costume for the bee parades!

Vendors’ Marketplace:  local vendors and organizations selling hand-made products and demonstrations including “home brewing with honey” by our sponsor, Philly Homebrew Outlet. 

Bartram’s Gift Shop & Tours – Welcome Center

Famous Philly food trucks on site. 

Ongoing 11:00am – 3pm – Free Boating on the Delaware

Ongoing 12:00pm – 4:00pm – House and Garden Tours Available: Tickets can be purchased in the Welcome Center 

10:30am Open Hive Talk – Take a peek inside a REAL LIVE hive with an experienced beekeeper!

11:00am Honey Extraction Demonstration – Learn how honey makes it from the hive and the honeycomb into a jar!

12:30pm Open Hive Talk – What’s going on in there?  Watch and learn as a beekeeper opens a living bee hive right before your eyes.

1:00pm Honey Extraction Demo – All hands on deck, interactive honey harvest; learn then do it!

2:00pm Open Hive Talk – Come closer if you dare!  Ask the beekeeper anything you want to know about honey bees.

2:30pm – Honey Extraction Demonstration learn how honey makes it from the hive and the honeycomb into a jar!

3:00pm – Bee Beard!  Watch as Don Shump, Philadelphia Bee Company, creates a beard of bees on his face!

3:30pm – Open Hive Talk – Your last chance to see inside a real bee hive at the 2018 Honey Festival!

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