Tour the Fair
The Beekeeping & Honey Show at Topsfield Fair is the largest at any fair in North America. The first honey exhibits were entered in 1844. The show has been operated and sponsored by the Essex County Beekeepers Association since 1928. In 1998 the International Association of Fairs and Expositions awarded it "First Place" for the excellence of its presentation.
There are up to four live observation hives on display during the Fair. Knowledgeable beekeepers will explain the inner workings of a bee colony to fairgoers. Children can make their own honeycomb beeswax candle to take home as a souvenir of their visit to the Beekeeping Building.
There are four divisions at the show including: honey, beeswax, beekeeping related arts & crafts and cooking with honey. The competition is open to all
Essex County Beekeepers' Association
2015 American Honey Queen
Gabrielle Hemesath is the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Russell Hemesath of Clermont, IA. She is a sophomore at Iowa State University majoring in marketing. Gabrielle became interested in beekeeping at a young age and has been employed by Fassbinder Apiaries since 2008, assisting in managing 2,000 beehives. As the 2015 American Honey Queen, Gabrielle serves as a national spokesperson on behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, a trade organization representing beekeepers and honey producers throughout the United States. She will make appearances at the Topsfield Fair, speaking to fairgoers about the importance of honeybees to the public's daily lives and how honeybees are the connection between plants and our plates. She will also share information about the many uses for honey, including how it can sweeten your entire home. Gabrielle will make appearances throughout the fairgrounds and will be present at the Essex County Beekeepers Association's bee building.
2015 Essex County Honey Ambassador
Grace Neale the 2015 Essex County Honey Ambassador, began to learn about beekeeping at a young age. She got her first bee suit when she was five and has been working with the honeybees ever since. Grace and her family keep about a dozen bee hives at their home in Stoneham and also in Lexington. Grace started volunteering at the "roll your own candle" making table at the Topsfield Fair when she was five. She now makes her own beeswax candles and sells them in Harvard Square and craft fairs. Her numerous entries in the beekeeping building at the Fair have produced lots of blue and red ribbons. Grace has also been successful with entries in vegetables, flowers, and canning.
Her flower garden and her vegetable garden are well pollinated. As a homeschooler, Grace has had the flexibility to pursue beekeeping along with her other interests including Rapper dancing (centuries-old Northern England folk dancing), sailing, skiing, and rock climbing. Grace also takes great delight in working with young children as a volunteer at the Museum of Science in Boston.