PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) -- Today was the 5th Annual Palisade International Honeybee Festival. Though the event is enjoyable and fun for families, it's also meant to be an educational event where families and children can learn all about bees and how they make a difference for Western Colorado residents and farmers.
The day long event was all about bees...kicking off with an old fashioned spelling bee for children. Candace Lemarr was there for her daughter.
“She really wanted to do. She's been very driven as have most of her classmates- they have a love for learning and they're very excited to come and compete and show what they've learned," says Lemarr.
Others headed to Palisade for different reasons, Rhonda Phillips and her granddaughter, Anika, were there for a natural remedy.
“We came for local honey because it's good for our allergies," says Phillips.
Whether for the costumes or food, the festival was ultimately a way for Grand Valley kids to learn more about bees.
Gary McCallister, the president of the Western Colorado Beekeepers Association, was there to educate families.
“The purpose of this program was to educate the public about the need for bees and we're trying to educate, especially, the children," said McCallister.
According to McCallister, the majority of Colorado's fruit is grown in Delta, Mesa and Montrose counties- making bees a vital source to our agriculture.
“Without pollination, a lot of that fruit can't be grown, period," explained McCallister.
He even encourages families to adopt pet…bees, to benefit their own gardens.
“I’m trying to get more people to keep bees, maybe just in the backyard, 2 or 3 hives," said McCallister.
For some in attendance becoming local beekeepers in the near future isn't a stretch.
“It is completely possible, yes," said Lemarr.
Others might just stick to a temporary bee… with children encouraged to dress up like bees for the costume contest.
“There's a costume contest and she [her granddaughter] wore her bee costume," said Phillips.
The children at the Honeybee Festival were very eager to know more about bees and for Lemarr, she is proud her daughter has a love for bees and most importantly, for education.
“I’m very proud of her and what that means for her future- her love of learning will take her a long way in life," said Lemarr.
Festival vendors were there as well offering local honeys, such as lavender honey and soaps infused with honey.
Local Palisade restaurants adjacent to the festival offered bee-themed snacks and a variety of food selections.
The Honeybee Festival's primary motivation is to create awareness to the worldwide dilemma of honeybee colony collapse. The festival is also looking for grants and major sponsors to expand and make the gathering even larger for next year.