Beeton Honey and Garden Festival, Ontario: An Unassuming Street Festival
If you like honey as much as I do, I highly recommend that you make a beeline for the Beeton Honey and Garden Festival, nestled in the rolling hills of Ontario's New Tecumseth high country.
There's nothing pretentious about this community's unique street festival. Beeton used to be known as Bee-Town, thanks to David Allanson Jones, a North American beekeeping pioneer. “The Bee King of the 19th Century”, Jones is credited with starting commercial honey production.
Though townsfolk dropped the “w” in Bee-Town, their claim to fame as Ontario's honey capital stuck. During the daylong celebration, the town closes Main Street and vendors sell beeswax candles, quality crafts and jars and jars of honey.
I started my day with a hearty pancake and sausage breakfast that included locally produced maple syrup. The fest already hummed with musical performances, amusing children's activities and bee-bedecked classic cars and trucks arriving for an auto show that's part of the festivities. I loved the unusual Soapbox Derby, in which enthusiastic participants young and old were pushed around a level course!
Seeing a golden opportunity to learn more about the sticky treat, I browsed around beekeeping displays and artifacts. Along the way, I listened as beekeepers provided fascinating demonstrations about this agricultural practice, among the world's oldest. I also admired stately Victorian homes on tree-lined Centre Street and historic Main Street's red-brick buildings.
Because bees need blossoms to make honey, the festival includes a flower show right on Main Street. Choosing a favorite among the colorful blooms took some time, but I eventually voted and went on to peruse bargains at library's annual book sale.
When hunger struck, I sampled delicious homemade pie sold by a church group, and learned the recipe came from the late Beeton native Kate Aiken, a renowned home economist who counseled Canadian homemakers in newspapers and on the radio for 50 years. This really was a honey of a festival, and I promised myself I'll “bee” back soon!
Before You Visit
Beeton is in central Ontario in New Tecumseth Township on County Highway 1 (the Eighth Line), between Highways 27 and 10, roughly 10 miles west of Canadian Autoroute 400 and approximately 40 miles north of Toronto.
The annual Beeton Honey and Garden Festival is held on the last Saturday in May. The pancake breakfast begins at 8 a.m., and the festival lasts until 5 p.m. For additional information, call 1-905/729-0230.
More to See
Elora, on the rim of the Elora Gorge and among Ontario's most scenic villages, is about 50 miles southwest on County Highway 7. For details, call the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce/Elora Information Centre at 1-877-242-6353.