OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. – From farmers to beekeepers to food truck owners, they all came together at the 2nd annual Honey Festival to try and make up for some of the profits lost during the pandemic.
Forced festival cancellations all over the state have cost small business owners like farmer Johnny Perkins thousands of dollars.
The Honey Festival is a saving grace for Perkins.
“This is our first event for the year, and it’ll probably be our last because the festivals are over with and a lot of them have been canceled,” Perkins said.
Honey Festival Coordinator Colby Ruf said she was willing to do anything to make sure this festival happened.
“We didn’t charge a vendor fee for anyone this year because we wanted to make sure everybody actually made a significant amount of income or at least as much as possible while they were here,” Ruf said.
Mickey Williams owns ‘Get Loaded’ Food Truck. He gave up his one day off to be at the event, and he said he’d choose working an event like this over a day off anytime.
“It has been really hard getting the customer base back from where we lost it from everyone staying at home,” Williams said.
Williams used to make a big portion of profits parking at businesses, but since many people are still working from home, he’s rethinking how to best market the truck.
“Without these, we couldn’t stay afloat,” Williams said.
As a small business owner herself, Ruf sympathizes with the full-time vendors.
“This event will get us through the winter and taken care of for the first part of the year and spring,” Ruf said.
Ruf is a full-time commercial beekeeper with ‘Hive of the Rising Sun.’ Beekeeping supply companies are back-ordered due to manufacturing delays. Time is crucial before Ruf is forced to close her bees up for the winter. She warns if she can’t keep her bees fed, they will starve and die before temperatures warm again.
Despite the struggle some of the 36 vendors at the Honey Festival are enduring, across the board, all count themselves blessed to be in business.