At one point in the 1950s, Oliver Petty saw a need for outreach to the general public about honey bees and beekeeping. His solution was to set up a honey bee informational booth at the Oregon State Fair.
Oliver, serving as OSBA secretary at the time, set up, decorated, stocked the booth, and took it down single-handedly. The booth was informational only and was not staffed with beekeepers for a number of years.
In the early 1960s, Oliver expanded the booth to include volunteers to greet booth visitors and answer questions. A honey competition was added, which revved up enthusiasm for the annual event greatly. In 1967 the Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association was established. Soon after formation, the WVBA assumed management of the Oregon State Fair honey bee booth, with sponsorship of the OSBA. The WVBA did a stellar job in managing the booth for nearly 40 years!!!
In 2006, the WVBA returned management of the booth to the OSBA. A number of good things came out of this. One improvement was to make individual days reserved for our regional associations to staff. Later on, the OSBA was blessed with an Activities Chair, who, along with a large cast of dedicated volunteers, for a few years produced the finest State Fair Booth ever produced in Oregon. You can find pictures on www.orsba.org. The OSBA took a break from the fair in 2016.
It is now very important that we turn our attention to returning to the Oregon State Fair. There is no venue that can come close to the hands-on, one-on-one, good-will benefits that the booth provides for bees, beekeeping, beekeepers, and our industry.
The OSBA has an open position for Activities Director who would jump start this event. This is a very fun and manageable position. Check out the activities flowchart (click on image to enlarge or open/download here):
Notice how each aspect of the effort is very manageable. It is manageable and fun!
If you are interested in giving back to beekeeping and the industry by serving as Activities Director please shoot me an e-mail. I directed and co-directed the Oregon State Fair bee booth for many years alongside many great beekeepers, and will be happy to coach, support, and advise.
Harry Vanderpool, email@example.com