Wednesday, 11 August 2010






 Philadelphia has a long history of “firsts” – from the first hospital to the first zoo to the discovery of electricity, innovations of all kinds have happened here. Beekeepers across the city and the United States are buzzing away, preparing to celebrate another Philadelphia “first”– the invention of the movable frame bee hive. December 2010 marks the 200th birthday of Philadelphian Lorenzo L. Langstroth, “The Father of American Beekeeping,” and inventor of the hive that changed the future of apiculture forever. To celebrate his birthday, four Philadelphia organizations have teamed up to present the Philadelphia Honey Festival on the weekend of September 10-12, 2010. The coordinating partners are the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Philadelphia Beekeepers G uild, Bartram’s Garden and The Wyck Association, organizations invested in educating the public about natural science.

 The festivities will kick off with the placement of a historical marker at 106 South Front Street, the house where Langstroth was born. The marker placement will be on Friday, September 10th at 3:30 PM, MC’d by Kim Flottum, Editor of Bee Culture Magazine, and one of the event’s sponsors, and includes a keynote address from Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, an appearance by the Pennsylvania Honey Queen, and will conclude with the viewing of Langstroth’s papers at the American Philosophical Society. 

 There will be something for everyone at the festival, the three anchor sites, Wagner Institute, Bartram’s Garden and The Wyck Association will be buzzing with events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 What better place to celebrate the importance of bees than right on the banks of the Schuylkill River at the birthplace of American botany? Bartram’s Garden is the landmark home and garden of America’s pioneering family of naturalists, botanists and explorers. During the Honey Festival this Southwest Philadelphia site will appeal to those interested in the history of beekeeping, and the aesthetic inspiration these important pollinators provide. On Friday, Bartram’s Garden will host the opening of the DaVinci Art Alliance exhibition aptly titled “What’s the Buzz,” from 5 – 8 PM. On Saturday, September 11th, and Sunday, September 12th, the Garden will be open all day, for botanical illustration meetups and house tours. History buffs should not miss the lecture, History of American Bee Keeping 17 76-1810 on Sunday afternoon at 1 PM, presented by Professor William Butler. His lecture will be followed by a curator’s talk, Bees in Art, presented by Dr. Debra Miller of DaVinci Art Alliance.

For those interested in starting their own apiary, Historic Wyck is the place to be! This remarkable Germantown site has been a home and a working farm for more than 250 years, and features a nationally-known garden of old roses (over 30 varieties), originally planted in the 1820s. Wyck will host three well-known beekeeping authorities on Saturday from 12-4. Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture Magazine, will discuss the Joys of Urban Beekeeping. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans, Professor of Biology at Bucknell University and author of the book, Why do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees will discuss her work on bee behavior. Dean Stiglitz, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping will talk about Natural Beekeeping. Also, Historian Matt Redmon will do a short presentation about Lorenzo Langstrot h, Philadelphia’s own inventor of the modern beehive. Honey extractions and hive demonstrations will also be happening throughout the day. Food will be available for purchase, as well as honey from local beekeepers and honey and wax related products from a number of vendors.

 The Wagner Free Institute of Science will be the Honey Fest host for children and their families. This Victorian natural history museum located in North Philadelphia, has been dedicated to providing free science education to the public for over 150 years. Children make up 1/3 of the museum’s annual audience, and the Honey Festival will kick off the Institute’s 2010-11 season of Saturday Family Programs. Open from 12 – 4 PM on Saturday, September 11th, the afternoon will feature “Pollinator Power!” a lesson for children ages 6-12 about the importance of pollinators in our lives. Sip honey-sweetened iced tea, and listen to local folk rocker, Liam Gallagher, while you peruse goods from local booksellers, bee artists and beekeepers. Beeswax candle-making, free Häagen-Dazs ice cream treats, scavenger hunts, and the debut of the Institute’s new native pollinator garden will sweeten the day for all who attend. 

 The goal of the Philadelphia Honey Festival is to raise awareness about the importance of bees to our environment, the impact of local honey on our economy, and to promote urban beekeeping and gardening. All festival events are free. Some events require reservations, please see attached schedule for more details.

 For more information: