I believe many people, including myself, really never thought about or understand just how important honey bees are to our ecosystem.

Well, our friends at McCloud Nature Park want to change that. They will host the third annual McCloud Honeybee Fest from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 24 at the park, 8518 Hughes Road in North Salem, Indiana, to celebrate honey bees and their importance.Bees on hive

Master beekeepers will teach the basics of backyard beekeeping, and offer opportunities to investigate a live hive (from safely behind glass).

Park naturalists will lead games and craft activities for children. A variety of local honey will be available for sampling, and you can buzz around the vendor booths to browse some great honey products and support our local bees!

This event is hosted by the Hendricks County Parks and Recreation Department, is free and appropriate for all ages. There is no advance registration required.

The goal of this event is to spread awareness about honey bees, encourage community involvement and maybe even spark interest for others to keep bees on their own property. Maybe you could talk your kids into a beehive instead of a pony!

Four Reasons to Attend McCloud Honeybee Fest

  1. To learn about honey bees -- Bees are not only fascinating creatures but incredibly important to our environment and food sources. They pollinate local plants, which are often damaged or wiped out by invasive and non-native species. The honey bees keep the native plant life thriving. Also, their pollination makes it possible for us to have fruits and vegetables.
  2. To purchase local honey --  Celebrate pollinators at the annual McCloud Honeybee Fest every August.The honey produced by local beekeepers is important because by purchasing it, you are supporting the honey bee population. It's also believed that eating local honey can help with allergy symptoms. Bees pollinate using nectar from native plants, so getting your honey from the local plant source can potentially help your body adjust to pollen in the air. Plus, it's absolutely delicious.
  3. To learn about local pollinators. Believe it or not, honey bees aren’t the only local pollinators around. In fact, honey bees aren’t even native to Indiana! There will be vendors present with native plants, seeds and information about native pollinators, such as monarch butterflies!
  4. To have fun and make memories -- Local food vendors, like Orange Leaf and Kiki Concessions, and games and crafts for the kids make this festival fun and entertaining. If you've never been to McCloud Nature Park before, you also will definitely want to explore all of the beautiful trails throughout the property and take plenty of pictures. Don't forget to use the #inHendricks if you post them to social media.

Bring cash, as it’s not guaranteed credit cards will be accepted should you wish to purchase products or food.

Even if you aren’t into honey bees, this event is a fantastic time and place to go on a nature walk, talk to a park naturalist about pollinators and get resources and suggestions for making your landscaping local-pollinator friendly. You can also simply enjoy a wildflower walk with a park naturalist or enjoy the park's many beautiful trails.

Unfortunately, weather was an issue last year, so if you plan to attend and have a weather concern, you can call the weather hotline at (317) 718-6111.

Come and see what all the buzz is about and learn about some of our county's most important creatures.