Beekeeping & Honey Show – Report

For 2018 our Honey Fair was in Dorking on Saturday 20th October.

FREE admission from 10:30am until 4:00pm to the Christian Centre in Church Street, Dorking.

The venue was between St Martin’s Walk car park and the High Street, behind Barclays Bank and Boots Opticians.

Displays and stalls aimed to provide a lively and interesting combination of exhibits, information and products for all the family to learn and enjoy, and included…

Competition Class Honey Show – spectacularly displayed.
● Observation hive – providing the challenge to ‘find the queen’.
● An ‘Asian Hornet threat to our Honey Bees’ display.
● Fully equipped working hive – without the worry of bees!
● Honey extractor – without the sticky honey!
● Swarms – captured on video.
● Posters and displays – provide insights into the life & work of honey bees.
● Honey Tasting – sample some of the honey for sale.
● Mead Tasting – sample some of the variants that can be made.
● Tombola Stand – try your luck for a prize.
● Candle Rolling – make your own beeswax candle to take away.
● Face Painting – release your inner honey bee.
● Refreshments – Tea, Coffee, Honey cakes and biscuits on sale all day.
● Sales stalls offering:
Plants for your garden – to help the foragers.
Products of the Hive – inc. Creams, Candles, Condiments & Gifts
‘Surrey’ honey – in jars.
● Beekeepers – happy to talk about beekeeping, education & our facilities.

This year’s event broke with recent convention by being held in Dorking instead of Reigate for a change. It was also , later in October than it has ever been held. So a few challenges were faced by our members on the day.
All worked well thanks to the great cooperation of the many members of Reigate Beekeepers who started arriving VERY early in the morning and continued to arrive to variously help set up, bring Show Exhibits, drop off materials and stock for the sales stalls, or to help during the day in the halls.

Let’s start with the Competition Show Benches…

Members competition entries were vying for an impressive array of Awards and Silverware…

Blue Ribbon for ‘Best in Show’ Class 7, Two Matching Beeswax Candles

Reigate Cup for ‘Most Points in Show’

Tanner Cup for 1st place Class 1/2, Light or Medium Honey

W-J Cup for 1st place Class 4, Crystallised or Soft Set Honey

Novice Trophy for 1st place Class 5, Novices Honey

J.M.B. Cup for 1st place Class 6, Two Containers of Cut Comb

Redhill Cup for 1st place Class 20/21, Mead

Bramshaw Cup for 1st place Class 10, A Comb for Extraction

Geoff Lewis Plate for 1st place Class 12, A Honey Cake

Lockett Bowl for 1st place Class 15, A Group of Bee Products

Buchanan Cup for ‘Most Points, Children’s Classes 23-25’

The Honey Show benches had soon been set up as the sun rose, and were quickly dressed with arriving exhibits in time for judging to commence at 9:30am.

Our Show Bench Secretary summarised her take on the day ….

According to my master sheet, before the show, we had 163 entries registered. There are always a few ‘no-shows’, mainly because people run out of time to get all their entries together; so we had just over 140 entries on the show bench, which is a very respectable number.
Our judges were Mike & Liz Duffin who are National Honey Show judges, and nothing gets past their eagle eyes. Liz is very skilled at making wax flowers and has written a book on the subject. We were very lucky to have her expertise to judge the wax classes.
Both the judges have judged for us before and both said how much they always enjoy coming to RBKA and that it is a worthwhile show. This is a real credit to all those exhibitors who take the time and trouble to put entries on the show bench, after all, it wouldn’t be much of a show without you.
The Winners of Trophies will be presented their trophies at our AGM in November.

Some particular points the judges commented on:-

● People hadn’t read the schedule, for example when the schedule requires 6 biscuits on a plate, if there are only 5 biscuits, even if they are the best in

 the show they won’t get judged because they are NAS (or ‘not as schedule’)

● If the schedule requires labels to be put in an exhibit in a particular way eg on the top of the frame on the left hand side – then that is what the judge expects to see and any entry not complying will be NAS and not judged.

● Some of the jars of set honey were not properly set. The surface of set honey should not be mobile; when the jar is tipped to one side, the honey shouldn’t move.

● The judge’s comment on the novice class was ‘a good effort by most entrants’

Thank you to those members who acted as stewards and runners for the judges, and who stepped in at the last moment to judge the ‘cookery’ classes; and finally, thank you to everyone who helped set up and dismantle the show benches.

Our Show Manager saluted the tremendous help provided by members during what was long day for many …

I am indebted to the many members who turned up REALLY early on Saturday at the Dorking Christian Centre to unload and commence the setting up of all the equipment brought from Henfold, including the early provision of warm drinks and bacon butties for the assembling troops. And then also to all the members, who’s numbers continued to swell during the early morning as the show bench materialised, individual stalls and displays were dressed and stocked with exhibits, product and informative content. All was ready for opening to the public by 10:30am as planned.
The combination of a change of venue, and the same day setting up were always going to present challenges that, I believe, everyone rose to and overcame.

Within an hour of opening, our Civic visitors were arriving, with both the Chairman of MVDC, Cllr. Raj Haque, and the Major of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr. Dorothy Ross-Tomlin, expressing delight with our show and our work. Then after some relocation of stalls in response to observed flows of visitors, we were welcoming Waitrose with their Green Token cheque.

Those observed flows, and the rate of sales at the Honey stall (almost Sold Out by 4pm) certainly suggest visitor numbers were up on recent years, no doubt aided by the fine weather we enjoyed.

But none of it would have got off the ground but for the Show Team, and thanks also to the Leatherhead Horticultural Society for sharing and running the plant stall for us. 

Much to learn and take forward to next years show – somewhere, sometime, tba!

This gallery of photos taken by Members provides a flavour of the day’s activities and just some of the many members participating.

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We hope that all visitors to our show enjoyed their visit and learnt a little more about Honey Bees, Beekeeping and Reigate Beekeepers in doing so. 

Thank you.