Honey and pecans may sound like the perfect duo for a fall festival, but the story behind Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church’s fifth annual Pecan and Honey Harvest, set for Nov. 17 in Madison Square, comes more out of “unique circumstances” than perfect party planning.
According to Asbury’s Rev. Billy Hester, their “heavenly” honey, which will be on sale at the festival for $10 per 16-ounce container, is the result of a 2011 bee infestation of the church’s attic.
“We had bees in the attic and we couldn’t get rid of them,” says Hester. “So, we decided to talk to a bee keeper .. and he took our bees and started a hive and began making our Heavenly Honey ... Sometimes you can even see honey dripping out of our attic.”
While the honey is a big attraction to the annual harvest event, Hester says Asbury Memorial’s famous clown dolls will also be on display and available for $35 each.
He explains that the dolls were originally created by a fellowship group known as the “Busy Bees” in the '70s, long before the bee infestation in the church’s attic. These dolls are now sold around the world, and Hester remarks the “bee” theme is simply a happy coincidence.
Hester adds Asbury is known for its musical performances, so live entertainment is a big part of the day as well. This year’s event will include musical entertainment with Polyphonic 3 followed by Savannah’s World-Famous Crabettes and MidLife Crisis of Statesboro. Hester also hints there’s a good chance “Elvis” will make an appearance.
But the star of the day will most likely be the variety of pecan treats church members are putting together for the event. According to committee chair Bill Jahn, they will spotlight the South Georgia Elliot pecans, a tradition that started with a donation of pecans to the church several years ago.
He says they have 700 pounds of Elliot pecans to make this year’s harvest complete with the sale of fresh-shelled pecans, fresh-baked pies, cheese bites, cookies, cakes and more. There will also be pimento cheese sandwiches and hot dogs for sale at the harvest.
“It’s a fun place to stop, sit down and have coffee and eat a piece of pie,” Jahn says. He adds that seating is available in the square during the event. “And, all of the pies are baked at the church ... Our mission is to reach out to the community and this event is a perfect way to do that.”
Both Jahn and Hester say the mission of Asbury Memorial is to provide a place of worship to people who feel they don’t belong.
“We are a very open and welcoming church,” Jahn adds. “This event is a great way for the community to see what we are all about.”
IF YOU GO
What: Asbury Memorial UMC’s annual Pecan and Honey Harvest
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 17
Where: Madison Square, at Bull and Macon streets
Cost: Free admission; food and crafts for sale