The City of LaFayette 2023 Honeybee Festival was another huge success that showcased just how far our local Honeybee has come as a growing symbol of the community. The Honeybee continues to give LaFayette a positive identity and spreads outside awareness. Awareness of the Honeybee Festival continues to spread throughout the country, even as far as places like Illinois and Texas, where we welcome all our visitors, whether it’s from neighboring communities, or visitors from far and wide.
“The Honeybee Festival wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity of our sponsors, who want to see growth and activity within the City of LaFayette”, Mayor Andy Arnold said. Each year, the Honeybee visits various local businesses and organizations within the city and our Honeybee Festival Sponsors always appreciate a visit from our community’s humble Honeybee. “The Honeybee continues to bring positive energy never quite seen before for in the City of LaFayette,” Arnold said.
A Positive Community Symbol Grows
Since the inception of the first Honeybee Festival in 2017, our local businesses, especially within the downtown area, have begun adopting the theme of the Honeybee. This includes various businesses offering Honeybee related merchandise like clothing apparel, flags, Honeybee business and resident signage, jewelry, porcelain decorations, and decorative business décor, just to name a few. The symbol of the Honeybee also continues to grow within our local school system. Our area schools are adapting the honeybee into educational materials, as well as school honeybee themed décor and team spirit. “One of the main goals of the Honeybee Festival is to bring awareness to our community to showcase our local businesses, residential beauty, outdoor resources, and the community as a whole,” City Manager David Hamilton said. “We relate the Honeybee and its Hive to our own community and how we should take pride in working together to preserve our “Hive” Community for years to come.” Hamilton said seeing the symbol of the Honeybee grow within the community shows that our residents and business owners are taking the symbol of the Honeybee to heart.
Headliners & Live Music All Day
The night of the Honeybee Festival was headlined by Country Star Matt Stell, who closed the night with an array of his top Country Music favorites. Drake Milligan, another up-and-coming Country Music Artist, opened for Stell as the crowd at the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union Stage continued to grow. Native rising musicians from LaFayette also performed. This included Ben Chapman, Robby Hopkins, and Courtney Daly & the Daly Grind. Various stages were set up throughout the festival where local talented performers entertained the crowd throughout the day, until events were moved from Downtown LaFayette to the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union Main Stage. Those stages included the Walker Rocks North Stage, the Villanow Stage, and the East Lot Stage. Varying musical performances on the Walker Rocks Stage consisted of the Zach Waller Band, Laney Rayburn, Charlie Pace, Fresh Mind, Calycal, Rosewood Grips, and Ethan Slaughter & the Lonesome Georgia Boyz. The Villanow Stage saw performances from Rushing Wind, Seth David Coley, Sugar Lime Blue, the Ex-Laws, Kevin Long Band, and Soul Survivor. The East Lot Stage hosted musical acts including Kelsi Westfall, Joe Capo Guitar, Cayenne Russ & Alyssa Folds, Darryl Anderson, Fallon & the Smoke, and Joe Coke/Tony Whaley.
A Vast Variety of Vendors
The 2023 Honeybee Festival was witness to another large variety of Food and Arts & Crafts vendors stretching all along and across Main Street/U.S. Highway 27 in downtown LaFayette. There was something for everyone at this annual free to attend family event. Honeybee Education & Awareness One of the most important components of the festival is the education provided to the public on the importance of the honeybee population. Honeybee Educators from the Northwest Georgia Beekeepers Association provided honeybee insight to attendees throughout the day. This included Bee Involved, the Great Southeast Pollinator Census with Wade Hutcheson of the University of Georgia Extension Office of Walker County. Master Beekeeper Olivia Menard, of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, educated onlookers to the History of Beekeeping. Georgia Beekeepers Association’s former president Mary Cahill-Roberts discussed the significance of Certified Naturally Grown Honey and Bee Nutrition. Cahill-Roberts is also a Master Beekeeper and Senior Welsh Honey Judge. Honeybee BBQ Competition The KCBS Sanctioned Honeybee BBQ Competition continued to grow for the 2023 Honeybee Festival. The barbecue competitors enjoyed another year of healthy competition. Out of 27 different Honeybee BBQ Competitors, the Grand Championship was awarded to Jason Singletary of Smoke Central BBQ out of South Carolina.
Honeybee Beauty Pageant
The 2023 Miss Honeybee Beauty Pageant was once again hosted at LaFayette High School. The pageant consisted of over 50 participants ranging from 0-15-years of age. “The pageant continues to grow, and all of our participants really enjoy being part of this event,” Head LHS Cheerleading Coach and Pageant Organizer Nichole Harris said.
Honeybee Car Show
The Honeybee Car Show was hosted by LaFayette American Legion-Post 339. The 2023 Honeybee Car Show was said to have been one of the most successful Honeybee Car Show’s to date. There was a wide range of classic vehicles from the 1950’s era and so on, as well as a varying display of trucks and tractors.
Free Kids Zone
Once again, the Free Kids Zone gave some fun and entertainment for our youngsters. This included an array of inflatables, games like Corn Hole, Giant Jenga, Ring Toss. The Kids Zone even hosted a Giant Bubble Station. The Kids Zone is presented by LaFayette Parks & Recreation.
The festival is just one of the many components that brings awareness to the LaFayette “Hive” Community, and the Honeybee is a symbol of the humble hope we identify with to encourage the preservation and celebration of our “Hive” Community. The City of LaFayette Honeybee Festival will return in 2024.