Local beekeepers win top award at state fair

Originally published in Frederick News Post September 05, 2011

By Ike Wilson
News-Post Staff

The association’s informational display won champion and grand champion awards, earning “Best in Show” in the fair’s Honey and Wax department.

Winning the Honey and Beeswax Grand Champion at their first appearance wasn’t a bad showing for an association started only five years ago, Vice President Ed Mordan said.

Mordan, Kristien Z. and Laurie McCarty created the winning display.

“I was pretty proud,” Mordan said. “I called my mother and told her and she was happy, too. I’ll take an attaboy from my mother anytime.”

The designing team did not approach the task with any preconceived ideas, Mordan said.

“We just wanted to make a nice, worthwhile, usable display for information and training, and the fact that the judges appreciated it is just great, but the important goal was to educate, period,” Mordan said. “I wanted the display to answer all the questions I had when I started and to present it in a manner a 10-year-old could understand.”

The approach worked.2011MDStateFair

(Right) Ed Mordan, left, Kristien Z., right, and Laurie McCarty, not pictured, made this display, which won the Grand Champion and Best in Show awards in the Honey and Wax department at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium. Although it was their first participation at the Maryland State Fair, the Frederick County Beekeeping Association emerged on top out of about 50 exhibitors last week.

Farm and Garden Superintendent Bill Langlotz said the presentation was “a fantastic display.”

The judges were “really pleased with the Frederick County display,” said Angie McDaniel, who works with the beekeepers in the farm and garden building at the state fair.

“Their display had all kinds of information about bees and beekeeping and information about their organization,” McDaniel said.

The display also sought to dispel some of the many misconceptions about bees, Mordan said.

One is that bears like honey. Mordan said bears pose problems for beekeepers because they love to eat bees, which provides protein for them.

People shouldn’t be afraid of honeybees, said Bill McGiffin, president of the 50-member beekeeping association.

“They should understand their importance to our food supply,” McGiffin said. “They pollinate 75 percent of our fruits and vegetables.”

Beekeepers enjoy working and managing bees because the public is more aware of the link between their food supply and bees, McGiffin said.

Beekeepers also feel their efforts can better the environment, McGiffin said.

Starting a beekeeping operation costs about $500 and can be a challenge even getting a colony off the ground, Mordan said.

Combine environmental stressors on the bees with inexperience and the odds are stacked against the novice beekeeper, Mordan said.

The association meets at 7:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at Fountain Rock Nature Center, 8511 Nature Center Place, Walkersville.

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