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Bees, leaves and (unnatural) blondes

Posted 10/3/19

As I wended my way through picturesque Sullivan County, the temperature rose from 50, to 68, to 74, to 80—just in time for thousands of people bedecked in black and yellow to appear on Main Street en masse, ready to party the day away.

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Bees, leaves and (unnatural) blondes


No, it’s not the name of a new law firm… it’s just semi-random words that sum up my work week. Following last Saturday’s gaffe at Rafters Tavern (and the column that ensued) I was determined to keep a low profile, at least for a few days. Waiting for the furor over my lapse in judgment was tense, but as it turns out, there was no hate mail lurking at the bottom of my inbox, so I stopped looking over my shoulder and moved on.

As the weather mimicked my mood swings, Dharma and I hit the road in search of the elusive fall foliage that Mother Nature has kept under wraps this season, not wanting to show her hand too soon. Looks like we might miss the candy-colored transition altogether. In fact, I have “leaf-peepers” arriving sometime today, driving to the Upper Delaware River region from several states away (I wasn’t paying much attention) just to see the leaves (shhh!) change from “attached to branches” to “on the ground,” skipping the awe-inspiring gold-to-red-to-dead process altogether. Although my guests’ four-day itinerary is brimming with apple picking, hayrides and snapping photos of autumnal splendor, the forecast calls for nonstop rain the entire four days that they are planning to visit—so that should be fun.

Unfortunately, they have already missed the few colorful trees that I managed to photograph while driving along the river last weekend on my way to the fifth annual Narrowsburg Honey Bee Fest. As I wended my way through picturesque Sullivan County, the temperature rose from 50, to 68, to 74, to 80—just in time for thousands of people bedecked in black and yellow to appear on Main Street en masse, ready to party the day away. The buzz on social media describes the festival as “a day where we dress as bees, eat, drink, taste honey and visit with beekeepers. Visitors will have an opportunity to hear the Wallenpaupack High School Marching Band,” the website informs, “chat with beekeepers and meet ‘Good of the Hive’ artist Matt Willey,” whose large-scale honeybee mural adorning Narrowsburg’s post office exterior is now complete. I’ve already written an entire essay (but, yes… it’s still bugging me) on whether “honeybee” is one word or two, and have yet to come to a satisfactory conclusion, so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say, it’s still anybody’s guess, but the festival was fantastic and organizers Charles Wilkin, T Martin Higgins and Joan Santo have already taken to social media, thanking “our supporters, volunteers, vendors and guests” for helping to “make this year’s event so sweet.” In case anyone is wondering, keeping a “low profile” with a dog, wearing a bee costume, being schlepped through the streets in a stroller (don’t judge!) is not as easy as it sounds.

“Tiny Miss Sullivan County” Marlee Davis-Andino may be only two years old, but already knows how to lead a parade. Flanked by “Elite Ms. Spirit of the Empire State” Marie Smith, and mom Sarah, who is the current “Ms. Spirit of Liberty." | TRR photo by Jonathan Charles Fox

While I eschewed the doggy stroller (yes, it’s a thing) in favor of a plain old leash, Dharma still managed to turn a few heads as we took our seats for “Confessions of an Unnatural Blonde” at the Forestburgh Tavern, starring the one and only Paige Turner, making her triumphant return to the Catskills after last year’s “drag spectacular” (my words, not hers) made an indelible impression that left a breathless audience begging for more. Towering a good six feet over the crowd (she is, after all a drag queen) Paige once again held a rapt audience in the palm of her man-sized hands and regaled us with original material and songs (no lip-synching here) that range from lewd to rude, to publicly embarrassing a good ole’ fashioned prude (there’s always one in the crowd).

Always entertaining, often hilarious and yes, even touching from time to time, Paige Turner admits that entertaining in the mountains may be out of her “comfort zone,” but there’s no question that (IMHO) she works hard for the money. Word on the street is that Paige Turner might be bringing her Christmas show to what she called “Hickle-Pickle” (she meant Hurleyville, NY) so stay tuned. Bees, leaves, and unnatural blondes—please hold.

To view more photos from the Narrowsburg Honeybee Fest, like us on Facebook.


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