A handful of committed locals and a snack-inspired idea got the ball rolling on what would be the first ever Oregon Coast Honey Lovers Festival. The 2018 Festival was held in Yachats, OR on February 17, 2018.
Patti Johnson, co-organizer of the festival, provided some insight about how it all got started and why she got involved.
Who put it together?
A little over 6 people were involved to coordinate the event. Bev Wilson and volunteers as part of the Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee, Yachats Mayor Gerald Stanley, the Event Coordinator for the Little Log Church–Mary Crook, and Patti Johnson herself, a local beekeeper and her partner Patt Rollins.
What was the vision and goal for the event?
Mary Crook, one of the town’s influential leaders, connected with her local beekeeper, Patti Johnson, and reached out for feedback about an idea inspired by eating a piece of toast with sweet, local honey spread: “I think we should have a honey tasting in Yachats…” Soon the vision of the event adapted to be more than a honey tasting, but a full-scale festival. They focused on making it a family friendly event to bring business into Yachats and educate people and children particularly about the importance of pollinators, beekeeping, and products of the hive.
Why host a pollinator festival on the Oregon Coast?
Why not? There are local beekeepers and bee clubs up and down the coast, and that the coastal bees produce some wonderful honey. People come to Yachats because of its beauty, and friendly atmosphere. Yachats is also pollinator friendly. There is a pollinator corridor to help protect pollinators from roadside spraying, a bee sanctuary, and we intend to become a “Bee City” in the future. People in general care about the environment and want to protect it. Some very unique bees live along the coast, another reason to inform people that live here.
What opportunities are there for people in the area?
There will be a survey of coastal bees laster this spring in which Dr. Andony Melathopoulos and Dr. David Gordon will lead as part of the Oregon Bee Atlas. And there’s always opportunities to check out your local bee clubs or pick up a jar of honey to support your local beekeeper.
Why are pollinators important to you?
Patti’s reason to support pollinators goes deep, “I love bees, and I love Yachats. I never tire watching the bees, and want to do everything I can to become a better beekeeper and a better steward of the earth. This has become my passion and a large part of my personal faith journey.”
Oregon Bee Project coordinators are routinely blown away by Oregonians’ commitment to celebrate and support wild and managed pollinators. We’re featuring stories about Oregonians and their Pollinators to highlight the people who spread pollinator awareness to all corners of the state. Oregonians like Patti Johnson and organizers of the Oregon Coast Honey Lovers Festival are part of what makes our state exceptional.