The Washington Post

Boycott, controversy mar Baltimore’s Honfest

Not counting her seven custom-made beehive wigs, her cat's-eye glasses and her flamingo purse, Charlene Osborne holds little closer to her heart than the bedazzled rhinestone tiara that was fixed onto her lacquered bouffant as she was crowned Baltimore's Best Hon two years ago at Honfest.

But this year, Honfest will be at least one beehive short. Osborne is among those who have pledged to boycott the annual event to protest what they consider to be the co-opting of a Baltimore institution: the fabled hon.

"I consider myself a hon, raised by a real hon in Dundalk, which is hon territory," says Osborne, who's 49. "But I do not support the trademarking of the word and the strict handling of all things hon — it's very un-hon."

So the prize-winning hon, whose over-the-top visage smiles from the side of those hon-decorated city buses, will not be attending Honfest, which takes over Hampden this weekend.

"I'm making a statement by not being there," Osborne says. "I'm not going to go burn my beehive or anything, but … the whole festival has lost its charm for me."

Though it's unclear what kind of an impact they'll have — if any — others say they'll be joining her, turned off by the recent revelation that Honfest founder and Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting has trademarked the term of endearment and wanted control over what vendors at the event can sell and say.

Read the full story at

Image by Baltimore photographer Marty Katz.

Tell us what you think: Does Whiting have the right to trademark hon?



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.