The Buzz About West Seattle Bee Festival

The event’s sixth edition mixes environmental education and fun family activities.

The mystery of the disappearing bees is a familiar story by now. For years, the news has been buzzing about how harmful a potential bee apocalypse would be to the global ecosystem, including us humans. The annual West Seattle Bee Festival—which takes place this Saturday, May 19 from 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m at High Point Commons Park—hopes to further educate the public about the fuzzy bugs and how we can better coexist with them.

“Since we’ve been having the festival, the thing that I noticed is that more and more there is news of how bees are struggling,” said Karen Berge, who helps with marketing and outreach for the Bee Fest.

Researchers don’t know the full extent of the issue, but it doesn’t help that so much undue fear surrounds these little insects that pollinate many of the foods we love and need. As with any issue, education is the first step to untangling a problem. And the Bee Festival aims to do just that.

Now in its sixth year, the festival is hosted by the West Seattle Bee Garden, located in the north end of the High Point Commons Garden P-Patch. The enclosure was added to the P-Patch in May 2013, and has since become an important space for the nearby community of professional and amateur beekeepers.

The festival was started by Bee Garden creator and beekeeper Lauren Englund to celebrate the space’s opening and to educate people about bees. Since then, it has become so popular that even a few out-of-state visitors come for the experience.

“I’m really grateful to High Point for being willing to invest the time and money to host this event year after year,” Englund said.

Englund herself will take center stage to demonstrate the work that goes into being a beekeeper, but this year’s festival is also packed with events beyond the educational. Festivities start off with the Honey Run, and close out with live music from act like Bell and the Bees. Other eco-friendly activities include pop-up sewing to make the most of damaged garments, and a local arts, crafts, and food fair. Animal ambassadors from Woodland Park Zoo return to the festival with their Up Close program, “Pollinators: Little Animals, Big Job.” Tilth Alliance will bring their popular worm bin, and West Seattle campsite Camp Long will be sharing their microscopes so visitors can examine the bees in detail.

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