HonFest is a new-fangled thing to me, being British.
I’d spent that last couple of weeks telling people I was going to HonFest, pronouncing the Hon’ as in in ‘honest. Wrong! It’s ‘Hon’ as in ‘honey’, because now I know that’s what it’s celebrating. Honeys.
HonFest is a local tradition and the Bawlmer term of endearment, Hon, embodies the warmth and affection bestowed upon neighbors and visitors alike by historic working-women of Baltimore. HonFest is an annual celebration in honor of these women.
Since 1994, HonFest has grown from a tiny Baltimore’s Best Hon pageant behind Café Hon, to a nationally recognized festival that covers four city blocks on Hampden’s very own 36th Street. And this year marked a big anniversary for the street festival: 20 years of all things Hon.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it was awesome.
Honfest is very proud of its international visitors, of which I was proud to be one.
And I was out to see some real Honeys, and they didn’t fail to impress.
There were beehive hairdos, bright-blue eye shadow, spandex pants, cats’ eyes glasses and leopard print in abundance. And hot guys, too, which was an additional top rating score for HonFest!
HonFest had it all sorted out. If you had turned up wearing your regular, drab clothes – get your ass in the Glamour Lounge and get yourself a beehive, listen to talented local musicians, and check out the work of local artists, while you stroll down The Avenue.
The buzz, atmosphere, pride and sincerity of HonFest was pitch perfect.
From watching an Elvis impersonator Tommy El work the crowd, to hearing men compliment women on their Honey outfits, to feeling likes I’d stepped back in time to the 1950s, to remarking on how great it was to see different age groups having a great time together (there were kids and grandparents rocking out together!), to the Mashed Potato dance contest, the vibe was just right.
Quirky, boho, interesting, friendly and fabulous. The Honeys have it.
Claire Bolden McGill is a British expat who lived in Maryland for three years and moved back to the UK in August 2015. Claire wrote about her life as a British expat on the East Coast and now works in travel and hospitality PR in the UK. She still finds time to blog about her repatriation and the reverse culture shock that ensued – and she still hasn’t finished that novel, but she’s working on it. You can contact Claire via twitter on @clairebmcgill or via her blog From America to England.