HBA Honey Show 2019 – Report

Congratulations to all who contributed to making this year’s Hampshire Beekeepers Honey Show a happy success.

On Friday afternoon Mike Barrie from Andover Beekeepers Association arrived with signage, benches and fresh white tablecloths. With a little assistance (or as he had me there, a little assistant) and much jollity and banter- probably made the job longer – we placed them in position ready for the exhibits. I might not have helped had I known he’d beat me to First in the Soft Set Honey class – well done Mike.

He then drove off in the early evening light which was fading rapidly to the entrance and the roundabout to hammer in the signage, a safe distance from the road, pointing the way into the Hampshire Beekeepers Honey Show.

It was fun meeting and chatting to beekeepers from all over the county, exchanging ideas as well as contact details and, as always at such gatherings, making new friendships.

The weather was kind, the motorway on Saturday morning created a little excitement with trying to get some entries in on time but we managed with the help of the volunteer stewards, who, dressed in crisp white coats, hairnets and hats helped to stage the last few items (pots of honey, mead and wax blocks) ready for the similarly attired judges.

A steady stream of notes was stewarded from the show bench to Gillian’s laptop to be recorded and then on to the desk for certificates to be filled out and placed next to the exhibitors’ winning samples.

The purifying scent of beeswax filled the room as the judges watched the steady flame of moulded, non-moulded, decorative and plain candles burn with a golden glow.

Photographs; fun, interesting and educational were critically appraised with helpful notes scribed for the winners.

Cakes, scones, biscuits, sweets and preserves were all tasted and tantalisingly left visible for the visitors to be inspired to bake more with honey.

Crystal clear mead, all in traditional tall bottles with matching corks, gleamed in the sunlight and finally the cosmetics and furniture polish, which added a pertinent perfume of past times when furniture and chopping boards were made of natural wood.

Opposite the encased frames for extraction were the shining silver and gleaming glass trophies which this year were presented to the winners by The Rt. Hon. The Countess of Mountbatten of Burma.Honey show exhibits

The Countess showed great enthusiasm for the need for good forage and the craft of beekeeping, visiting Meon Valley’s spectacular display, including a treasure trail for children, an observation hive, the Asian Hornet tableau, Winchester’s honey extraction equipment including a heather press, Romsey’s candle rolling bench with wax of many colours, Portsmouth’s historic artefacts, the library and Southampton’s sunny sales table.

Having the show in the grounds of Hilliers, with ample parking, its café, shop and arboretum made it a great day out for all the family, educating the general public about the importance of pollinators and providing members of HBA with an easy sales outlet for their hive products.

Best in showChecking the extractor

On Sunday evening the marquee and showrooms were derigged, and the cloths removed for more laundering. Jim Stuart from Andover Association manfully took away the props to be stored.

People wandered in and out of the room over the weekend oblivious of what was involved in setting up a honey show.

Packing up was much quicker than setting up. With the rooms and marquee empty we strolled back beside the parkland tapestry of autumnal colours to our cars and headed home to a welcome cup of tea. Together everyone achieves more. It was that teamwork which made the weekend work so well. This is what HBA stands for and next time even more associations will be showcased and promoting pollinator protection and products from our hives.

Thank you all for your time, efforts and participation.

(You can see some photos taken at the Show if you click here)