PARKERSBURG - Danielle Dale, the 2012 American Honey Princess, dropped by the Wood County Commission meeting Thursday to promote this weekend's West Virginia State Honey Festival.
Dale, 20, of Sparta, Wis., will be at the festival providing cooking demonstrations and talking about the importance of honeybees. Dale is a sophomore at Western Technical College in LaCrosse, Wis., where she is pursuing an associate's degree. She plans to seek a bachelor's degree in communications or marketing. A third generation beekeeper, Dale said she began keeping bees as a hobby at the age of 12.
As the 2012 American Honey Princess, Dale serves as a national spokesperson on behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, a trade organization representing beekeepers and honey producers throughout the United States. The Honey Queen and Princess speak and promote in venues nationwide.
Photo by Pamela Brust
2012 American Honey Princess Danielle Dale of Wisconsin was in Parkersburg Thursday promoting this weekend’s West Virginia State Honey Festival.
"The interest in bees is increasing, it used to be the average age of beekeepers was 60, but that's not the case anymore. It's a $19.2 billion industry, that's a recent figure," Dale noted.
Dale said she spends many hours visiting fairs and festivals all over the country.
"I'm on an 80-day trip right now. Then I'll go home for a few days, then back on the road again," she told commissioners. "It's an amazing experience."
Honey is the only food that never spoils.
There are more than 300 varieties of honey in the U.S. and more than 3,000 worldwide.
The U.S. has between 139,600-212,000 beekeepers.
Common honey floral sources in West Virginia include autumn, olive, black locust, tulip poplar, sumac, basswood and wildflower.
Besides its sweet taste, honey can be used on cuts and scraps to aid in healing due to its antibacterial properties.
For more information visit www.abfnet.org or www.honey.com.
"A few years ago we didn't know if the honey festival was going to make it, but it did survive and now it continues to grow every year," commission President Blair Couch said.
"The festival began in 1981 and attendance was way down a few years ago, that's when I came to the commission to ask for help," said festival coordinator Tom Riddle.
"One new feature we will have this year is the Kootaga Indian Dancers who will be there," Riddle told the commissioners. Festival hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Parkersburg City Park. Admission is $2; children 6-12 are $1, 5 and under are free.
"The focus is to promote the honey industry. We'll also have crafts, entertainment, food and the bee beard is always popular," Riddle said.
The festival will also feature a honey and wax show, honey and beeswax products, honey bake contest, honey extraction and live beehive demonstrations, candle dipping, cooking demonstrations, historical presentations. There will be a car show sponsored by the Pioneer Antique Auto Club. The Antique Car and Truck Show will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday. Other activities will include a model railroad display, Civil War artillery display and demonstration, children's toys and games and tours of the Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum.
The festival will be holding its annual West Virginia Honey Princess pageant for girls ages 8-11 at 11:15 a.m. Saturday.