State Fair of Texas

According to an article published in the January, 1909 edition of Bee Culture, the Texas State Fair has had a long successful association with the TBA and Honey Bees.

“In spite of the short crop in Texas, the bee and honey department of the State Fair was a grand success. It was better and larger than at any previous fair, although the bee keepers in all parts of our State had long before disposed of their crops.”

Additional history recorded in the American Bee Journal from 1913 found these interesting quotes

“The State Fair of Texas, held annually at Dallas, and the Texas Cotton Palace of Waco have been very liberal in the encouragement given the bee-keeping industry. The making of premium lists has been referred to the Texas Bee-Keepers’ Association, and superintendents and judges chosen by the latter body have been recognized by the Fair Associations.”

“The exhibits have been truly representative of the bee-keeping industry of Texas. This year’s exhibit was the best that has been held. Mr. T. P. Robinson, of Bartlett, president of the Texas association, is Superintendent of the Bee and Honey Exhibit at the State Fair, and Mr. W. H. Laws, of Beeville, holds a like position at the Cotton Palace.”

“Mr. Wilmon Newell, State Entomologist, kindly loaned a most instructive exhibit and display, with mounted specimens, of the work and habits of the wax-moth.”

Over 100 years later in 2021, the State Fair of Texas is still going strong and so is the TBA Honey Booth! This year’s Honey Booth saw an observation hive with new LED lights and a QR Code Booklet to help visitors gain information about their local bee clubs. Best of all we were able to award everyone that was able to find the queen in our observation hive with a TBA Honey Bee stamp! Also new this year, we had a non-stop video that played in the booth to recognize our sponsors.

Over 5,000 brochures from the Americas Beekeeping Federation and the Texas Beekeepers Association were handed out to over 6,000 booth visitors, but with only half the normal amount of booth volunteers, everyone was on our toes answering question about honey and honey bees. As the fair progressed, the booth filled with bottles of Texas honey donated by more than 30 different beekeepers. The honey was donated to Happy Hill Farm in Granbury, TX after the conclusion of the Fair. At that time it was estimated that 2.2 million people enjoyed the state fair this year.

Consider joining the volunteers that help make this booth a success next year. There are several opportunities available from donating a jar of honey to helping with booth set up or tear down, to actually manning the booth and talking about bees all day. Look for the volunteer opportunities to be highlighted here in the Journal later this year.

If you happen to see Skip or John Talbert, give them a special THANK YOU for all the work they put in each year to support the Honey Booth!!

The State Fair of Texas recently announced that the 2021 State Fair of Texas is a go. On Friday September 24, the Fair will open for another 24 day run and since the Texas Beekeepers Association Honey Booth will be there, we need you more than ever.

Honey Donations:

Can be shipped to:
Skip Talbert
22326 CR 638
Josephine, TX 75189
Do not ship glass unless extremely well packed.

To volunteer or arrange honey drop off, contact Skip Talbert
Call or text at 706-761-7893, email at Skip@SabineCreekHoney.com

Deadline is Wednesday, September 22

Contributions from our members helps us to improve, maintain, and run the booth each year. If you’d like to support and sponsor the State Fair booth, select the State Fair Sponsorship opportunity and check-out here. Deadline to be included in the State Fair video is Sept. 1. You can view a sample video clip of our sponsors here.

I have been working with the Texas Department of Agriculture State Fair Coordinator and the SFOT Creative Arts Director to make sure that we are all on board and ready for the opening day. Skip Talbert has been working with TBA President Ashley Ralph and Rebecca Vaughan to provide additional new graphics and A/V media from TBA, Texas Honey Bee Education Association and Real Texas Honey. The Honey Booth has a Facebook page for the Fair and it is linked to every other local association Facebook page. Please watch for it. We are going to have a great year.

We will have our usual Food and Fiber Pavilion stage event on the weekend of October 1, 2 and 3 and we will have the contests in Creative Arts on Monday October 4. The American Honey Queen will be there for those events. If any of our local associations have a Honey Queen or Ambassador they are invited to participate on the weekend too. Unfortunately, we do not have a 2021 Texas Honey Queen to be a part of it so we are planning to invite some of the prior Texas Honey Queens to assist.

The events in the Creative Arts Building on October 4 will be “Honey, The Magic Ingredient” cooking contest, the polished honey contest and the black jar honey contest. The American Honey Queen will give a cooking presentation as part of the Celebrity Chef series that afternoon. There will be two photography contests that will require entries in early August for judging prior to the Fair opening.

The most pressing issue for the booth is the poor honey production in Texas this year. As you know, the Honey Booth is built around the display of the beautiful variety of honeys from around the state. We usually have honeys from several commercial honey producers and lots of individual beekeepers. Many of those same beekeepers had a small harvest or no harvest at all. If you had even a small harvest, please send a small bear or one pound jar for the booth. We need your help! Call or text me at 214-532-9241, mail at John@SabineCreekHoney.com. We will help you find a way to get your honey to the Fair before September 22 when we have to have the booth fully set up.

We will need our volunteers to staff the booth. The Honey Booth has the most visitors because we have the greatest group of beekeepers that are willing to share their love of the wonderful Honey Bee and Honey. The Booth must be staffed from 10 am to 7 pm. Our volunteer times in the booth are 10 am to 2:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 7 pm. All volunteers are asked to be there 30 minutes prior to their shift to start the day and to make an orderly transition. The volunteer sign up calendar will be published on September 1. It will go to every TBA member, every local association, and on the Facebook page. Your help is needed, please consider volunteering. It is an experience you will enjoy.John Talbert

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