Palisade will become a “beehive” of activity Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11, 2015, when the Seventh Annual International Honeybee Festival kicks off with all kinds of activities for the whole family.

The Blue Pig Gallery will launch the festivities on Friday evening from 5 – 7:30 p.m. with a reception, informational presentations and displays of birds, bees and flower-themed art and pieces that utilize bees’ wax. The Meadery of the Rockies will pour its honey wines to compliment the gourmet hors d’oeuvres served. Dan Bean, from the Palisade Insectary, will lead an informal presentation on how to control pests without pesticides by introducing “friendly bugs” into gardens. He will answer questions about bees as well.

On Saturday, the Festival starts at 11 a.m. with live music, street vendors, educational presentations, a variety of available food vendors and local restaurants, cooking demos and tours of The Meadery of the Rockies. Artist Susan Metzger will demonstrate the art of batik using beeswax and dyes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Other artists will show their works in the coffee shop space next to the gallery on Main Street. Kids are encouraged to contribute their chalk sidewalk art outside the gallery.

“We are hoping families will buzz on over and join us for a weekend of fun,” says Carol Zadrozny, committee member and a sponsor of the event. “With all the festivities, we are hoping that we can draw attention to the very serious world-wide problem of colony collapse. Our food supply is dependent on bees, so their problems are our problems.”

Ron Koss will serve as master of ceremonies in addition to providing on-going music throughout the day until the festival ends at 4 p.m.  Vendors will offer bee-related products such as honey, candles, crafts, soaps, packaged food products, woodcarvings, jewelry and a wide variety of other products.

Tom Underwood, who supervises the vendor setup, says all available spaces are filled. He’s encouraging anyone who couldn’t register this year to register early for 2016.

Carol Zadrozny calling out words for the annual Spelling Bee, a contest between area school children.

At 11:30 am the Festival is hosting a spelling bee that will feature the knowledge and skills of local third- grade students, who are invited to register independently to join teams that will be formed at the festival. Prizes will be awarded to the winners. Additionally, kids of all ages are encouraged to don their bee outfits to compete for a prize for the Best Bee Costume at 2:30 pm. Prizes will be awarded for the best bee costumes donned by kids, adults and dogs.

Since the purpose of the Festival is to celebrate the honeybee’s vital role in agriculture, there will be educational presentations in the Town Plaza. Jack Moore, technical instructor in beekeeping at Western Colorado Community College, will deliver a lecture and demo on “Honeybees in Western Colorado” at 1:30 pm, and answer questions afterwards.

Dan Bean of the Palisade Insectary will discuss “Controlling Pests, Conserving Bees Using Bio controls” at 3 pm.

Dixie Burmeister, newspaper columnist and radio/television personality, will be mistress of ceremonies for demonstrations on “Cooking with Honey” at 11 am and 1 pm. Local cooks and Pastry Chef Tronette Alexander of the Wine Country Inn will join her.

The Meadery of the Rockies will conduct tours from 1 to 3 pm to show how their honey-based mead is made. Absolute Prestige Limousine service will provide its Bee Mobile shuttle service that runs a circuit on the hour from Downtown at the Corner of Kluge and Third streets to the Meadery of the Rockies and Wine Country Inn.

The Palisade International Bee Festival was conceived by Tina Darrah, former Palisade Business Development Coordinator and bee keeper, and founded by these businesses: Marla Wood, The Blue Pig Gallery, Blane Colton, Epicurean Honey; Naomi Smith, Grande River Vineyards; Pat Kennedy, Meadery of the Rockies; Carol Zadrozny, Z’s Orchards and Jean Tally and Juliann Adams, Wine Country Inn.

The Organizing Committee sponsors the Festival in conjunction with the Town of Palisade, the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, Z’s Orchard, the Vault 100.7, Meadery of the Rockies/Talon Wine Brands, and the Wine Country Inn.

The Organizing Committee includes Carol Zadrozny, Z’s Orchards; Kay Crane, The Blue Pig Gallery; Pat Kennedy, wine consultant; Juliann Adams, the Palisade Chamber of Commerce; Carol Mueller, The Lavender Lady; Ron Koss, musician; Dixie Burmeister, The Grand Junction Sentinel columnist and radio/television host; Howard Martsolf, bee expert/beekeeper, Western Colorado Beekeepers Assn., and Jean Tally, Wine Country Inn.