Downtown Paris abuzz with the return of annual Honeybee Festival

It's the fourth weekend in September, and that means it's Honeybee Festival weekend in Paris, Illinois.

Posted: Sep 24, 2021 6:18 PM
Updated: Sep 25, 2021 10:04 AM

PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) - The Edgar County, Illinois square is bustling with activity this weekend.

That's because it's time for the annual Honeybee Festival!

Organizers told News 10 the event is even bigger this year after taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vendors and food stands are spread out across and around the courthouse lawn, ready to welcome visitors on Friday and Saturday.

Joy Turner is one of those vendors.

She co-owns Larkfield Glass with her husband, Randy, who hand-crafts the glass they sell.

Turner said they always enjoy taking part in the weekend event.

"We've been to quite a series of festivals with our glass over the last month, and we look forward to this one, and this is the one where, when our business was just starting up and we were just beginning to sell glass, we did well," she said.

Turner said business slowed last year at the start of the pandemic, but it has since picked up throughout the year.

"I think the feeling of people supporting local businesses was only intensified by the pandemic. I think people realized if we don't support our local business, we'll lose them," she explained.

Local business seems to be the heart of the Honeybee Festival.

Organizer Brian Blair hopes the festival's location benefits local store owners, as they are open for customers.

"The goal is to grow this, and with all the new businesses downtown, bring business to them and give them exposure to the products they're selling," Blair said.

When News 10 asked Blair and Turner about favorites at the festival, the verdict seemed clear.

"The favorite is probably the parade, just because families bring out their kids and the kids love getting candy and seeing all the floats. The next favorite is probably pancakes," Blair said.

Turner agreed, saying "We really like the Kiwanis tent with the pancakes and sausage first thing in the morning, and the parade is kind of the heart of the festival and is wonderful to watch."

Activities continue Saturday on the square, including the parade through downtown Paris at 11 a.m., Central time.

For a list of other activities happening during the Honeybee Festival, click here.

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