The weekend buzz at Germantown’s Wyck House: Bees, honey and mead

After its second successful summer of Saturday events, Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm gears up for its most popular festival of all.

Wyck Programs and Outreach Manager Bob McKee said the 4th Annual Philadelphia Honey Festival will be packed with activities not just for the kids but for grown-ups, too.

Event details

Presented through a partnership of Germantown historic sites and the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, the Honey Fest is happening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission and all activities are free (but donations are accepted), with food available for purchase, including treats from Farm Truck Philly, Germantown’s new Rose Petals Café and special wildflower-honey gelato from Capogiro.

The day will include Wyck’s locally-sourced marketplace featuring raw neighborhood honey, live music and a range of activities, but the stars of the day will be the bees.

The buzz

Curious families will be able to see inside Wyck’s hives with the help of three scheduled hive openings, at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The first two will be followed by a honey extraction demonstration, for anyone who ever wondered just how honey gets from the hive into our jars.

McKee said those looking for an even closer encounter can watch The Philadelphia Bee Co.’s Don Shump, who will do a “bee bearding” at 3 p.m.

“He puts the queen in a little box, and attaches that to his chin and ears, and the hive will build on his face,” McKee explained.

The buzzed

Adults who want to build themselves up for these bee-centered spectacles can participate in Wyck’s first-ever mead-sharing event.

“Wyck actually is the site of one of the first breweries in Philadelphia,” McKee said, with the family farm providing all the needed ingredients.

Saturday’s mead event is a follow-up after a winter mead-making class with local brewer Matt Shoemaker.

The event, held in Wyck’s garden, isn’t a contest.

“It’s really a chance for home brewers to highlight what they’ve brewed at home and get some expert feedback,” McKee said.

Participants can drop off their bottles between 9 and 11 a.m. for the specialist tasters, and at 12:30 p.m., Shoemaker will offer another mead-making presentation, along with a look at some of Wyck’s historic original brewing equipment.

But you don’t have to be a mead-maker to taste some original honey brews.

At 1 p.m., the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild will begin offering samples of mead for everyone 21 and over, in addition to a special honey beer from Earth Bread and Brewery.

Other offerings

The day will also include author visits, chances to don a beekeeper’s suit, woodworking activities and a 12:30 p.m. presentation by master gardener Jessica Herwick, who will teach attendees how plant a pollinator-friendly garden.

McKee noted that this weekend’s festival has been getting attention beyond Philadelphia: a Manhattan public TV station will be on hand with a camera crew on Saturday, hoping to capture the role of city and apartment dwellers in supporting America’s struggling bees.

Wyck’s free “Behind the Fence” festival series was sponsored in its two-year pilot phase by an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant of almost $150,000.

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