Community Press Release:
Grantsville abuzz over Honey Harvest Festival
Like a hive of bees, volunteers in Grantsville, Utah, are abuzz preparing for their city’s third annual Honey Harvest Festival on October 9 and 10. With the picturesque backdrop of old barns and hay fields at the J. Reuben Clark Historic Farm, visitors of all ages can enjoy bee-related activities, including demonstrations, kids’ interactive beekeeping area, educational posters, honeysampling, a honey contest and lots of honey sales.
To event organizer Laurie Hurst, a honey festival is a natural fit for Grantsville. “Grantsville liesin the shadow of Deseret Peak,” Hurst said. “Deseret comes from a word in the Book of Mormon that means ‘honeybee.’”
In celebration of the fall harvest, there will also be a farmers’ market, a hay bale maze, corn box dig, kids’ games, bounce house, pony rides, wagon rides, homesteading demonstrations, and more. History lovers will enjoy the Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum, Model T rides, historic demonstrations, arrowhead making, mountain men and farm tours. To top this all off, the Sweet Fiddlin’ Fest will feature top acoustic folk performers from all over northern Utah, food vendors, a Birds of Prey show and other entertainment.
Having live farm animals brings an interesting dimension to the festival experience. One year, Hurst said, “we had a gal, Liz Davis, and her typically very docile cow coming to do a milking demonstration, and didn’t see her when expected. All of a sudden, here came Liz running down the lane with her sweet milk cow who had gotten a little excited and decided to dart. The cow settled down and gave a very fun milking demo for dozens of kids.”
Hurst said she’s pleased that the festival falls on October 10, the city’s original founding date, and the venue couldn’t be more perfect.“The Clark Farm is a great place to celebrate our local harvest of produce, crops and honey. It’s also a good place to connect with the past, remembering that our town–and even our own existence–is a result of the labors of those who came before. It’s also a good reminder of the farmers who work hard to produce our food, and the bees whose pollinating work is critical for our food supply.”
According to Hurst, beekeeping has been around in the Tooele Valley from the very early days.In 1883, Grantsville established its own beekeeping association. Harvest Lane Honey, a Grantsville company developed by Mindy and Jason Waite, ships beekeeping supplies all over the country, including to many large chain stores. At trade shows, the Waites’ Tooele Countyhoney is sought after because it has an extra sweet flavor from the alfalfa grown in the area.
Hurst extols homegrown raw honey as having more flavor and richness than processed honey. “Some claim that honey has antibacterial properties and that it helps with allergies,” she said.
At the festival, one can expect to see a dazzling variety of honey. In the South, they have sourwood and tupelo honey, and in California, bees pollinate citrus groves, producing orange blossom honey. Other common varieties are buckwheat, clover and dandelion honey. There’s even avocado honey. And, of course, there are many artificially flavored honeys too.
Aside from hosting the Honey Harvest Festival and other year-round events, the Clark Farm also plans to raise at least $100,000 in the next three months for purchasing a portion of the farm and beginning major improvements. “We have a number of ways to help,” Hurst said, “from a straight donation to purchasing merchandise, including yard signs, Clark Farm magnets, a Grantsville calendar, and pre-ordered purchases of the Grantsville Song Cycle CD.” The group recently kicked off their campaign with a “People Who Care” rally, where donors will get their name on a permanent plaque at the farm to show they were the ones who helped get the ball rolling.
For more information on the Honey Harvest Festival and its venue, visit
Jewel Allen lives in Grantsville and is the author of the young adult novel Ghost Moon Night.
Visit her at www.jewelallen.com.