by Lauren Englund, West Seattle Bee Garden Project Lead
The West Seattle Bee Garden is officially open! On Sunday, May 19, the High Point Neighborhood Association hosted the first annual West Seattle Bee Festival at Commons Park P-Patch to celebrate the opening of the educational enclosure and the arrival of the bees to their new home. It was exciting to see so many people and organizations come together to celebrate community and education.
It was estimated that 500 people turned out for the parade and festival throughout the day. From kite makers and bee art to Taproot School and Neighborcare, 35 merchants and organizations were on hand to share information and showcase their wares as the Tallboys band serenaded families with their bluegrass sounds.
The parade, too, was a resounding success! It was exciting to see the Seattle Police motorcycle escort and the Sounders’ Sound Wave marching band, but the real stars were High Point’s very own soccer team, FC Juba, and the families from West Seattle Elementary and Roxhill Elementary who joined the march dressed as bees and flowers. City Council President Sally Clark and Karen Gordon from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods were also on-hand to share inspirational words and commemorate the occasion.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate over a year of hard work, community meetings, and a growing team of volunteers who donated time, resources, and labor. This project would not have been possible without the generous donations of friends and neighbors through the IndieGoGo campaign and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund award of $20,000.
There are high hopes that the festival is only the beginning. Already people are looking forward to next year’s Bee Fest. The next phase of the Bee Garden project will focus on tending the two new hives of local bees. A busy summer of bee-watching, bee-tending, pollination, and education is ahead along with planned improvements to the enclosure to include webcams. The hope is that the West Seattle Bee Garden will teach the community about the importance of bees and other pollinators. It is also an opportunity for people to learn about bees themselves – why they swarm, how they communicate. The Bee Garden has partnered with West Seattle Elementary, and other schools are welcome to join.
Come see the West Seattle Bee Garden in Commons Park P-Patch. You can find it at Lanham Place SW and SW Graham Street.