Beekeepers to hold annual competition at Market on Main

Published 7:20 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The first Market on Main of 2018 will be buzzing with excitement as locals get the chance to view painted beehives courtesy of the Troup County Association of Beekeepers.

Three entries will mark the contest’s third year, and visitors will be able to vote Saturday on their favorite beehive from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the AMC’s parking lot (formerly Carmike Cinema) during the market. The winner will be announced at 10 a.m., after visitors have had the opportunity to explore other features at the market.

“I think people have enjoyed looking at the bee hives and voting for their favorite, and we’ve done this for our opening day [two times so far],” said Barbie Watts, the director of promotions and marketing for the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority.

The beehive boxes were decorated by people from Troup County and the surrounding area. Two of the beehives will be auctioned off by the Troup County Association of Beekeepers and the remaining hive will be auctioned off by the Georgia Beekeepers Association later this year.

“Basically, what we do is we provide the boxes — the hives — and they go ahead and paint them for us,” said Brad Myers, the president of the Troup County Association of Beekeepers. “We provide a reward of a pound of local honey that I actually produce myself and a $25 gift certificate [from the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority to the winner].”

The contest is still relatively new, and Myers said that he would love to see more entries in the future.

“We would sure love some more competition,” Myers said. “This year, one of the hives was donated by Rossman [Apiaries], which was a bee supplier in Georgia, and so in the fall in the Georgia Beekeepers Association that hive will be auctioned off. Honestly, that is such a gorgeous hive this year. They did an amazing job on it.”

A group of students painted one of the hives and an individual painted the final box.

“The contest is open to anyone who wants to paint a hive, so we think it is a neat thing to encourage that kind of stuff,” Myers said. “I think she [the entrant] got a lot of pleasure out of doing this.”

The contest also gives local beekeepers a chance to talk about what they do, answer questions and discuss how to care for bees.

“It makes people more aware that bees are very, very important in our pollination system — not only honey bees, but also the native bees as well,” said Brian Maddy, the agriculture and natural resources agent for the Troup County Extension. “With the decline of some of our honey bee colonies, native bees have become much more important to pollination.”

In addition to the beehives, Saturday’s Market on Main is set to feature 16 vendors selling everything from produce to goat’s milk cheese and soap to baked goods to live plants. Local honey will, of course, also be available for purchase. Market vendors have tents, so the market will take place rain or shine, unless there is lightning.

“I hope people will come visit and enjoy the high-quality, fresh produce that we have to offer at the Market on Main,” Watts said. “It is also a great opportunity to talk to the grower to see how they grow their goods because people are interested in how they fertilize them or if they put pesticides on them and that kind of thing.”

The Troup County Association of Beekeepers meets on the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Cattleman’s Association Building at 856 Vulcan Materials Road.

Market on Main will take place on the corner of Main Street and East Depot Street across from Loy’s Office Supplies every Saturday from June 2 through Aug. 25.