This is our History
Palo Cedro’s Honey Bee Festival started in 1980 when Lois Park, a local honeybee business owner, and her husband Homer decided to start an event to raise money for a park. She got together with family and friends to start a Honey Bee Festival to showcase the Shasta County bee industry and raise money for a park. There was a Bee Costume Contest and the first event included a pie baking contest, which Pat Stewart won with her banana cream pie. Homer watered and mowed the area around the Grange for the event for years. Each year there was a Drone and Queen Costume Contest and whoever won was designated King and Queen.
The idea of the craft fair was started then with the requirement that all ware’s sold must be handcrafted, not manufactured. That tradition carried through for many years. It was put on by the local chapter of the Rebekahs and the International Order of Odd Fellows, the local beekeepers and the Palo Cedro Chamber of Commerc. It was held at the Grange each year. The original Honey Bee Festival continued at the Grange for over 20 years, at which time Lois stepped down as the leader of the event. After a few years of the Chamber running the event, Emilie Reedy stepped in and took over.
In the early 2000’s the event moved to Bishop Francis Quinn Catholic Campus and over the years the Honey Bee Festival continues to grow in popularity. It has often been called the best craft fair and largest attended in Shasta County with annual visitor count of between 6-8000 for the two day event. Volunteers include a Boy Scout troop to help run the event, along with the Antique Tractor Association, local residents, Pioneer High School and student volunteers.
Recently the Palo Cedro Park has taken ownership of the Honey Bee Festival to help boost the park and continue growing with many local projects. These projects included the fence around the property, the front gate water to the park trails and the playground. Emilie worked hard to make sure that the proceeds of the HoneyBee Festival were used to help complete the Palo Cedro Park which was Lois Parks original dream. And it did happen!
Francis Quinn High School. In the late 80s Eileen Fox got involved with the effort to build a community park. Through her efforts and community fund raisers the Chamber raised $38,000. In the early 90s and early 2000’s Eileen formed a non-profit 501(c)(3) as Palo Cedro Community Action Team and started working to identify properties for a park and continued fundraising. In March 2005, The account had grown to $90,000 and property was identified.
In the early 2000’s after Emilie had taken over the Honey Bee Festival, she got together with the Park board and in 2005 transferred $21,000 to the honeybee account inside of the Palo Cedro Park organization. Strict rules were that it was under Emilie’s control. Emilie joined the board. Joan Barkerville then Gail Batdorf helped Emilie with the details of managing the Honey Bee Festival.
In 2005, the Palo Cedro Park organization bought 18 acres of land in downtown Palo Cedro from Lois and Homer Park estate after Homer’s death. Generous donation by the Estate of Homer Park allowed for he purchase of the property. The Chamber of Commerce released $38,000 and Shasta county put in an extra $50,000 and five local residents signed on a guarantee loan with North Valley Bank to purchase the property.
Over the years the Honeybee Festival continued to grow in popularity. It has often been called the best craft fair and the largest attended in Shasta county with annual visitor count at 6 to 8000 people. Parking fees of (originally) one dollar per car went to a student group at the school. Volunteers each year include Boy Scout troops, The Antique Tractor Association, local residents and Pioneer high school and student volunteers help to make the event successful each year.
After the merger of the Honeybee Festival and the Park, the Park Board of Directors would set up a booth right next to the information booth for the honeybee festival and Emilie Reedy’s queen seat was back in the food area. Emilie Reedy handled the design and sales of the Honeybee Logos and T-shirt design for years. Every year after the event Emilie would designate what projects in the park the proceeds from the Honeybee Festival would be used for. These projects included the fence around the property, the front gate, water to the park, trails, and the playground. Emilie worked hard to make sure that the proceeds of the Honeybee Festival were used to help complete the Palo Cedro Park which was Lois Parks original dream. And it did happen!
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These are pictures from the 2015 Honey Bee Festival