Members of Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church sure know how to make people happy, with their pecan treats and Heavenly Honey.

They even host an annual Pecan and Honey Harvest. This year's event - the fourth - is Nov. 18 in Madison Square.

The festival began with the donation of a bunch of South Georgia pecans.

"One of the church members has a pecan farm in South Georgia," says the Rev. Billy Hester, church pastor. "He donated 1,000 pounds of pecans. You can buy pecans at the harvest, cookies and all kinds of incredible things to eat."

There will be a general store where shelled pecans, fresh baked pecan-themed desserts and candy, beverages and local honey will be sold. There also will be a café and live entertainment.

The honey is harvested from Asbury's own "heavenly" bees, which invaded the church in 2011 and whose hives now provide the honey.

"We had a horrible problem with bees in the attic of the church," Hester says. "We hated trying to get rid of them, but were scared someone would get stung.

"We tried for a year and couldn't do anything. Somebody said, 'Have you ever thought about a bee keeper?'

"We brought in a bee keeper who said, 'Have you thought about making honey?'" Hester says. "Some members started raising bees and now we have our Heavenly Honey."

Today, the honey is harvested from descendants of those original church bees, and although it's not harvested at the church, it could be.

"We had honey dripping from the attic the other day," Hester says. "The bees love Asbury Memorial."

Volunteers organize the harvest under the direction of committee chair Bill Jahn. Many have participated every year the festival has been held.

An added bonus is that the harvest is scheduled for the same date and time as the Savannah Children's Book Festival in Forsyth Park, which is just eight blocks south of Madison Square. Organizers say many people attend both events every year.

"The Pecan and Honey Harvest is a fun and exciting event that is becoming an Asbury tradition," Hester says. "The congregation is already looking forward to a great time and we look forward to seeing everyone come out - new and old faces.

"It will truly be a celebration of Savannah's spirit, and funds raised will assist us in our work to help community members in need in the Waters Avenue revitalization area in which our church is located."

Asbury's famous clown dolls will be displayed and available for sale. The dolls, which are sold around the world, are made by Asbury's Busy Bees group.

They were originally made in the 1970s for fellowship. Later, the sale of the dolls helped keep the church running.

"The youth will do face painting for free," Hester says. "It's fun for us to get out together, hopefully on a pretty day. We're out among the community and getting to know people. It's a great experience for us as members of the church.

"Members have been coming to the church for weeks now, shelling pecans and passing out recipes for baked items," he says. "We hope we're helping people with food items and things."

The harvest gets bigger every year.

"It seems to be growing and developing," Hester says. "We're new and improved every year. It makes you feel part of the season this time of year."


What: Pecan and Honey Harvest

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 18

Where: Madison Square, at Bull and Macon streets

Cost: Free