Residents think West Virginia State Honey Festival is the bee’s knees

Photo by Madeline Murphy Crowds line up to get their own honey products at the West Virginia State Honey Festival on Saturday.

PARKERSBURG — Saturday kicked off West Virginia’s 38th annual State Honey Festival at City Park, which will conclude today.

Crowds began showing up as early as 9 a.m. to watch or enter the pageant and car show.

The Honey Festival pageant, looking to crown the 2018 WV Honey Princess, had seven contestants, and six titles that could be won. They began the pageant with a few words from Abbi Francisco, the 2017 WV Honey Princess about her reigning year.

The winner was Leilani Navarro, 11, of Mineral Wells. Lyanna Smith, 12, from Marietta, won the congeniality title; Kennedy Mays, 11, of Parkersburg, won the titles photogenic and second runner-up; and Alexa Wilson, 11, of Belpre, won the titles best interview and first runner- up.

According to Navarro, this was her first pageant.

Photo by Madeline Murphy Children swarm around Steve Colon to watch him create a beard out of bees.

“I really wanted to start pageants last year, but I didn’t get to,” she said.

“I am so excited I got to be a part of the pageant this year, and I am looking forward to being in next year’s Homecoming Parade,” said Navarro.

After being crowned, Navarro headed over to the West Virginia Honey Car Show by Pioneer Antique Auto Club, where she was able to judge the cars and decided who her first place choice was.

Navarro choose a red Buick Wildcat from 1965 owned by Bill Schofield, of Parkersburg, for her first place award. Prizes were also awarded for Top 40, Best of Show, Best Original and Best Street Rod.

Other activities held Saturday included live music by Rob Campbell, Band of Brothers, Jody Haught-Harper, and Makenna Hope, and an in person demonstration of the Bee Beard by Steve Colon..

Photo by Madeline Murphy Leilani Navarro, 11, of Mineral Wells, was crowned the 2018 WV Honey Princess.

The festival had tents with crafts, a honey and wax show, honey and beeswax products, honey extraction and live beehive demonstrations, candle dipping and cooking demonstrations and historical presentations.

Among the vendors was Mountain State Honey, from Tucker County, who have been coming to the festival for over 20 years now, were selling raw, unprocessed honey.

“This is my first year coming to the festival,” said Vickie Holmes, from Belmont.

“The kettle corn is awesome, and they have some really cool vendors,” she said.

The festival will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today at City Park. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children ages 7-12 years and free for ages 6 and under.

Photo by Madeline Murphy Hunter Patton, 14, of Logan, Ohio, is shown with the 1971 Chevy Nova that he and his father, Jack Patton, spent six years restoring.

Today’s schedule includes:

* 10:30 a.m.: Sydney Jo Sharp

* Noon: Band of Brothers; Bee Beard by Steve Conlon

* 2 p.m.: Smith Family

* 3 p.m.: Bee Beard by Steve Conlon

Photo by Madeline Murphy Tim Snider, of Big Springs, displayed the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner that he restored after bringing it to West Virginia from California.

* 3:30 p.m.: Stallion