|ABOUT THE FESTIVAL|
In spite of honey month being in the middle of hurricane season, we still draw thousands to Downtown Whiteville, NC every year. Since it's inception in 2017, the festival has taken place in Whiteville, NC's Historic Downtown District. Our regular collaborators include the Columbus County Beekeepers, the Columbus County Farmers Market, The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville and Farmacy On Main.
We host an annual Charity Pancake Supper leading up to the festival. On festival day, attendees can enjoy activities, exhibits, crafts, games, vendors, food, music and honey! The festival kicks off on Saturday, September 9th at 10am and lasts until 3pm. Whiteville is located at the intersection of US Highway 74/76 and Hwy 701; roughly an hour drive Fayetteville, Wilmington and the world-famous Myrtle Beach, SC.
The NC Honey Festival is produced by DDR Experiences, a division of Dreamboro LLC.
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The History of the NC Honey Festival:
It all started as a Fathers' Day gift
It was once said that my Dad 'saved Whiteville High School.' When the schools integrated, there was a riot brewing and my father got on the intercom to speak to his peers and cool tensions; the next year he was voted Class President - many people knew him for that. Other's knew him as "Blab" on the basketball court. Some knew his as a gardener and, later in life, as a beekeeper. In 2015, many learned that he was 1 of the 13 out of every 100 men that gets diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was during this time that I, and so many others that knew him, learned that he was more special than we had realized.
He carried such a positive attitude during his period of treatments and doctor visits, that he was raising the spirits of the same people that would call to ask how he was doing. I recall countless stories from loved ones he called while he traveled to his appointments after work; not asking for prayer, but rather to pray for others he cared about. In the face of death, I watched my Dad go out of his way not to make his life all about himself. Once his treatments were over and he had successfully overcome that illness, I felt inspried to do something special for Pop. Somewhere down the rabbit hole of the internet, I learned that September was both National Honey Month and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Divinity, Poetry and Vision all wrapped up in a single idea. On Mother's Day of 2017 - my birthday - I shared that idea with my Mom... and the rest is history.
At first, my goal was to help my family put together a small celebration after church and invite his bee club to attend. After a month of ideas and phone calls, that celebration grew into a 5K through the heart of the city and a three-block festival in Downtown Whiteville. On Father's Day of that year, I announced to my Dad and the church congregation that on Saturday Sept. 9th, 2017 we would be hosting The Carl Cutler Run for Prostate Cancer and The Inaugural North Carolina Honey Festival.
3 months later, I had just finished cleaning up at Central Missionary Baptist Church; the pancake supper was a success. That evening, I never went to sleep (a tradition of excitement and over-thining before the festival). As dawn approached, I was chalking vendor locations, reviewing the festival map, and chasing down 5k sign up sheets that were captured by the morning wind. As runners began to arrive, the reality of the day was sinking in. Dozens of people stopped me to congratulate me on the success of the festival and applaud the reason why it was taking place - the love for a great Father.
All of the sentimental sidebars made for a roller-coaster hour of balancing emotion and staying on task. Being the festival's founder and organizer, It was suggested that I welcome the crowd; but I was running all over the place. I had plenty of help but sadly no one else could read my chicken scratch map. No different than any other time in my life when I needed him to, my Dad stepped up and spoke. His tone, his words and his energy all set the tone for the day. In the midst of my laser-focus I heard him joking, "I'm just glad that this isn't a memorial run!" That moment dispelled all of my tension and anxiety about how the day would turn out - Laughter, Joy, People Coming Together, and Honey: all the things my Dad loves... and the rest is history.
NC Honey Festival, Founder