Valdosta Daily Times

October 6, 2013

32nd Honey Bee Festival may be biggest yet

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

HAHIRA — This weekend saw the 32nd Hahira Honey Bee Festival bring in what organizers think may be one of the largest crowds yet.

“We had 35,000-36,000 last year,” said Leonard Jacobs. “This year, we think it’s more.”

While the official count of the festival attendance isn’t known yet, what is known is the number of vendors has nearly doubled from last year.

“There’s definitely more vendors this year,” said Keith Guntar, who has been a vendor at the Honey Bee Festival for years with his business, Keith’s Honey.

Leonard, along with his wife, Carol, are part of the committee that plans and prepares the Honey Bee Festival each year. Leonard works with vendors, while Carol is chairperson of the committee.

“My daughter calls me a professional volunteer,” said Carol, who has been on the committee since 1987. “People love the festival. It’s a family affair.”

One person who certainly loved the festival was Eula Copeland. Copeland was an active volunteer for the Honey Bee Festival since its inception in 1981, serving many years as vice chairman. When she passed away in January, planning for this weekend’s festival had just started. Her daughter, Ouida Lane, knew she had to take her place.

“When I lived in Chicago, I would come home just to visit the Honey Bee Festival,” said Lane. “It always meant a lot to my mom, the Honey Bee Festival. I knew I had to carry it on.”

Geneva Hutcherson has been a volunteer with the festival for five years, but she too used to visit it when she didn’t live in Hahira.

“I used to come from Ohio for it,” said Hutcherson. “Hahira just has an ambiance about itself, something that people love.”