WESTMORLAND â€“ While bees create sweet, golden, delicious honey, these hard-working insects also provide a vital service for Imperial Valleyâ€™s agricultural way of life by pollinating our many crops. For the past 10 years, the community of Westmorland has commemorated these tiny insects by hosting the Annual Honey Festival.
This year featured over 15 different events running from 7 am – 2:30 pm including a total of 79 vendors, confirmed Sally Traylor, City Clerk and Coordinator for the Honey Festival. She said Westmorland is the honey capital of the world per capita.
Ramiro Barajas, Westmorland Public Works Supervisor said, â€œThe honey festival promotes local honey industry and businesses.â€ His father, Chris Barajas, also a volunteer and local resident of Westmorland, added,Â â€œItâ€™s getting bigger and bigger every year.â€
Victor Sanchez Jr. of Sanchez Bees is a second-generation beekeeper with 35 years of experience. His passion and knowledge for his work is evident in the product he and his family produces and sells. Sanchez proudly noted that all of his honey is sold raw and unprocessed. With the exception of clover honey, since clover is not grown locally, all of Sanchezâ€™ products come from Imperial Valley crops.Â
Many community groups and clubs also showed up for the event. One of these groups was the Westmorland Little League Organization with a booth to raise money and promote this yearâ€™s sign-ups. Sign-ups are currently open to kids ages 4-12 and more information can be found on their Facebook page.
The fifth annual 5k Honey Run was also a huge success, according to Jewel Ashurst, event organizer.Â â€œEach year more people are involved and there is a bigger turnout,â€ she said.
Participants in the run either pre-registered online for $15 dollars, or signed up at the event for $20 dollars. Registration payments included a t-shirt and small honey bear.Â Trophies were awarded to first through third place winners and the best time clocked for men and women.
The Westmorland Lions Club hosted its annual Pancake Breakfast with homemade batter whipped up by Mary Weekes and volunteers serving its many customers. Volunteers included members of Star Route 4-H Club as well as Robert Mendel and family, while the Elks club helped with cooking.
This breakfast is the Lions Clubâ€™s only fundraiser for the year and allows the club to provide scholarships and services to the community. Tom Landrum, an 18-year member, sold tickets at the door along with Regional Chair of the Imperial Valley, Belen Telford.
Virginia Dickerson, Lions Club secretary, treasurer and Pancake Breakfast Chair, said the turnout was great, but she is concerned with the clubâ€™s â€œlow membership.â€ She said membership is open to people ages 18 and up. Dickerson openly admitted that the club â€œneeds more members,â€ and gave warm thanks for the volunteers who made the breakfast event possible. She also pointed out the wonderful music was provided by the â€œOld Time Fiddlersâ€ who also volunteered their time.
Those interested in joining the Lions Club can contact Dickerson at (760) 344-9394 for more information.