Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park will host its second annual “Buzz on Bees” Saturday, Aug. 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Park. “Buzz on Bees” is designed to bring public awareness to the importance of honey bees, the dangers they now face and what people can do to help them thrive. Attendees will be able to observe enclosed live bee hives, chat with local beekeeping experts, learn about the basics of beekeeping and honey production and can bring home local honey and beeswax products. Kids’ activities will be offered and a prize will be awarded to the winner of the “best dressed bee” costume contest. There is no additional cost with paid Park admission ($15/adult, $7/youth ages 6-15, free for 5 years and under).
“Many people don’t realize honey bees do so much more than produce honey. One third of the world’s food supply depends on honey bees for pollination. Simply put, we wouldn’t have food on our dinner table and flowers in our garden without them,” said Matt Popowski, PR & Events Manager at Chimney Rock.
Get the “Buzz.” The event will be held under tents in the Park’s top parking lot. Glass-enclosed observation hives will allow guests to study live bees up close and marvel at these hard-working insects. Local beekeepers will explain the art of beekeeping and honey production with beekeeping equipment on display. Several types of local honey and beeswax products will be available for purchase. Kids’ activities include a crafts area where children can color, learn fun facts on honey bees and make their own bee costumes to wear. “Buzz on Bees” will be a fun-filled day for families while bringing awareness to the essential honey bee.
“Best Dressed Bee” Costume Contest. Children are encouraged to dress up in a bee costume or accessories, such as face paint or antennae, and the person determined to have the most creative costume will be announced at 2 p.m. The winner of the “best dressed bee” contest will be awarded a basket of local honey products and four admission tickets to the Park. Guests need to be present at 2 p.m. to win.
The Essential Honey Bee. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates 80 percent of insect-pollinated plants, such as fruits and vegetables, rely on pollination by honey bees. In the U.S. alone, honey bees contribute $15 billion annually to our agricultural economy. Many of our beekeepers, like those in Western North Carolina, are small-scale amateurs, but they have a large impact. The USDA estimates 95 percent of the nation’s 150,000 to 200,000 beekeepers are hobbyists and, along with part-time beekeepers, produce about 40 percent of our honey.
Trouble for Bees. Since the 1940s the U.S. honey bee population has decreased from 5 million to about 2.5 million, says the USDA. In addition to deadly pesticides, fungi and mites, a sudden mysterious decline in the bee population, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, has beekeepers and farmers baffled and concerned about the honey bee population. Although the exact cause is uncertain, there are simple measures everyone can take to help bees thrive once again. More information will be available at the event.
About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. In 2012, the Park is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the release of The Last of the Mohicans, which was filmed in Chimney Rock. The 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Chimney Rock features one of the highest waterfalls of its kind east of the Mississippi River, Hickory Nut Falls, at 404 feet. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit the Park’s website at chimneyrockpark.com.