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Honey Fair returns to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens for an un-bee-lievable weekend in August: 5 - 6 August 2023

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens is buzzing with excitement for its biggest Honey Fair yet, returning for a third year to bring a celebration of the humble honeybee to the historic venue on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August.

The popular Food Demo Stage will be hosted by UTV’s Rita Fitzgerald each day, talking through recipes with a fantastic line up of chefs and local producers and taking questions from the audience. This year will see Chef Paula McIntyre return to the stage to prepare a delicious three course meal inspired by all things honey, plus Michael Young Honey, Trevor Dawson from Ulster Bee Keepers and Mead, and more.

Alongside the demonstrations, more of Northern Ireland’s local producers than ever before will sample their products, each including local honey, which are available for sweet-toothed visitors to purchase throughout the weekend.

Visitors to the Honey Fair can learn more about the important role honeybees play in our environment in the ‘Bee Inspired’ area, which has grown to host thirteen different organisations this year. Beekeepers from across Northern Ireland, including Hillsborough Castle and Gardens’ very own beekeeper, Gwen Earnshaw, will bring samples from their own hives for visitors to get up close with. Gwen will host a ‘planting for pollinators’ information tent, complementing hourly guided walks hosted by Hillsborough’s expert gardeners focused on how we can nurture bees in our own back gardens. Visitors can learn more about our vital pollinators from the likes of the Killinchy and Dromore Bee Keeper’s Associations, the RSPB, and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

New for this year, families can take part in Babee Bop, a fun-filled ‘baby rave’ for little ones, in the stretch tent on the West Lawn. Little ones are invited to bop along with Queen-Bee and Honey-Bee, two walk-about characters bringing sass, attitude, and incredible dance moves to the Honey Fair.

Live music will provide a fitting backdrop all weekend, from the Unholy Gospel Band to Martello Jazz. Busy-bees are invited to chill out in the gardens of Hillsborough Castle, sample sweet treats, and reconnect with the perfect pollinators who help to power our ecosystem.

Laura McCorry, Head of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to the Honey Fair this August, now in it’s third year, for a fantastic weekend of family fun, sweet honey treats, recipe demonstrations, and music all inspired by bees and local honey.

“We’re delighted to have partnered with Food NI once again, who have curated a broad selection of local businesses and producers who work with bees to share their delicious foodie treats with visitors.

“We hope that this weekend of music, feasting, entertainment and education will empower visitors to do their bit to live sustainably, support local producers, and protect bees in Northern Ireland.”

Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI/ Taste of Ulster added; “The Hillsborough Honey Fair is back with a buzz at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and Food NI/ Taste of Ulster are proud to help create an inspiring food and drink experience which educates and inspires through the story of bees who are the very foundation of our rich food heritage. Citizens can enjoy award winning local food and drink, taste, learn and have a great day out while helping our farmers and growers to nurture their quality produce for the future. Come along and enjoy.”

Tickets are now on sale for the unique event, which is supported by the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

Notes to editors

Find information on tickets and prices for the Honey Fair and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens here. Pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

For further information or images, please contact Jessica England in the HRP Press Office via [email protected] / 020 3166 6166

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