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EAS 2003 Honey Show
What's up with the Honey Show?
Organizing the Annual Show each year has become increasingly challenging. This for a variety of reasons. Although at first glance, a very rapid first glance the size of each yearís show appears to be the same, it really hasnít been. The number of entries overall, and certainly the number of entries within each category have declined dramatically in the past dozen years. Basically, what has happened is that far fewer, and almost always mostly local EAS members take part. And even fewer of these people are taking part.
This doesnít mean that people distant from an annual meeting donít participate, as some routinely do each year. But these, too, are declining.
Thereís another issue - judges. There are far fewer qualified judges around anymore. Far, far fewer. When honey shows were held at every state meeting in every state, there were always people to judge them. Today, there are many states with no honey show, period. And many have only the state and a few county fairs that host honey shows. In Ohio, there are only three qualified judges that I know of that do the few fairs that still have shows.
Judge compensation stinks, by the way. Well, it does almost everywhere. When there were skads of judges everywhere, there was almost always four or five who lived near enough to an EAS meeting that transporting all their stuff was not a problem.
And once they got there, the four, five or six hour job was the reward itself. Itís getting tougher to do that. Much, much tougher. Fewer judges, living further away, with little compensation to cover their expenses wears thin after a time.
Even those judges that arenít directly associated with beekeeping (4-H, FFA, County Extension) are fewer, and farther apart, and they, too, no longer have the strong financial support of their organization. The question is: Is a honey show judge worth (more, the same, or less) to EAS than a speaker, a workshop presenter, the people at the registration table, or the guy who brings the bees?
EAS costs, too have increased. Although the silver bowls are paid for by corporate sponsors the ribbons and tickets and such still cost the same, whether there are 20 or 200 entries. And giving an expensive bowl to a category winner, when only two entries were judged rings hollow to the winner, and to the sponsor.
The Annual EAS Show isnít the only honey show to demonstrate both the downturn in entries and the stress of finding qualified judges. And, if you remove one criteria from most of these shows - this is, if you want to sell your honey at the booth, you have to enter the concurrent competitive show - there would be even fewer entries. Thereís no doubt that this requirement has artificially kept many honey shows alive. This isnít true of the EAS show but eliminate these smaller (some though are much bigger) shows and judges and all the rest would be nearly nonexistent.
Bottom Line: fewer people entering fewer categories each year. Fewer and more costly qualified judges and other escalating costs.
After examining all of this the Board, at the fall meeting voted to step back from the competitive show this year to evaluate the future of this event. There wonít be an Annual Show at the Maine meeting this year.
The EAS Board strives to cost effectively use its resources to provide the best services possible for our meetings and our members. The Honey Show currently seems to be serving a diminishing minority of our members, and the costs continue to escalate.
If you have a thought on the Annual Show please contact your Director, as this will be on the Boardís agenda for the summer meeting. If you do, do it in writing if possible, email is probably better (email addresses for all directors are available on the Contacts page).
There will be a honey exchange this year, though. See the article on
this web site, or in the Journal.