The mission of the Arkansas Honey Festival is to educate the public on the importance of the honey bee population in Arkansas and to showcase honey from across the state. It is an opportunity to bring producers and consumers together in celebration of the state’s sweetest commodity.
In 1992, Tracey and Donna Bemis bought a tree farm and established Bemis Tree Farm. The farm included 80 acres of land along with a 90-inch Big John Tree Transplanter mounted on a 1985 Mack Truck. Bemis primarily dealt with large shade trees. The business has since grown to include smaller trees and shrubs with the help of their two sons, Nathan and Jeremy.
With the need to help pollinate the tree farm, the family set up five bee hives. As the family was getting started with beekeeping, they quickly realized that there were no beekeeping suppliers in the central Arkansas area and very little sources for information. Not wanting other new beekeepers to have the same difficult experience in getting started, the Bemis family established the Bemis Honey Bee Farm in 2013 with the focus of offering beekeeping supplies and beginner beekeeping classes. The onsite store currently offers a full array of beekeeping supplies including bees, hives, tools, smokers, protective clothing, gifts and more.
As Bemis Honey Bee Farm’s number of colonies began to grow, so did their business and the demand for more education. Bemis Honey Bee Farm now offers informative classes year round that range from beginner to queen rearing. The classes are hands on and taught by qualified and experienced instructors.
With the growing interest in beekeeping, two admission free events were established. Each event is held is held once a year at the Bemis Honey Bee Farm and is educational and entertaining for all. Each event offers a day filled with free classes, information, food, fun and activities for all ages. Both events also feature live demonstrations in the bee yard.
Bee Day was established in 2014 and is held in the spring each year and focuses on teaching and bettering beekeeping practices. This is also the day that packaged bees are picked up. The number of people attending the event has doubled each year.
The Arkansas Honey Festival is held in the fall each year and focuses on products from the hive as well as honey production. A honey contest is held and tastings are open to the public. The first festival was held in 2015 and had one hundred visitors in attendance. Due to the low turnout, the Arkansas Honey Festival almost did not make it to a second year, but the Bemis family gave it one more try. The next festival doubled in attendance and the third year grew to one thousand people in attendance. The honey contests, education, music, and sponsors continue to grow each year. The Arkansas Honey Festival is now the largest bee event in the state.
The Bemis family is grateful for the opportunity to share their love of honey bees with the public. The Bemis Honey Bee Farm strives to unite the beekeeping industry in Arkansas, provide exceptional service and quality supplies at a low price, and to offer informative classes and education. Bee Day and the Arkansas Honey Festival would not be possible each year without the hardworking volunteers and generous sponsors.
The Arkansas Honey Festival is planned and hosted by the Bemis Honey Bee Farm with the help of our dedicated and outstanding volunteers.