A Honey Bun Run is waiting to happen in Greensboro. We have all sorts of road races that honor our history (Cannonball Marathon), holidays (Greensboro Gobbler and Resolution Run) and worthy causes (Women’s Only 5K and Imagine How 10K).
But we need a Honey Bun Run.
Here’s why: The gooey, sticky honey bun, in all its saturated-fat glory, was invented right here in Greensboro.
A rare vending-machine trip and brief flirtation with Mrs. Freshley and her Original Jumbo Honey Bun led me to find that the real Original Honey Bun—the first one—was baked by the late Howard Griffin.
When Griffin was a boy, his mother baked small, fried pies and sent the young ‘uns downtown to sell them at lunchtime. So the flour, sugar and aroma soaked deep into Griffin’s veins. After he and his wife married, he developed a formula and began making honey buns in the basement of his home on Walker Avenue in the early 1940s. The city didn’t care for him selling them out of his home, so he built the Griffin Bakery on West Market Street.
How do we know Griffin was first?
“He had a patent on the machines,” says Mary Griffin, his former daughter-in-law who lives in Elon. “Nobody else had anything like that.”
The Food Network gave him credit in one of its shows, too.
Griffin went on to get his company listed on the stock market, which was pretty good for a man with a junior high education.
“It’s the most outstanding thing he did in his life,” Mary Griffin says. “He achieved something he never thought he would do.”
Griffin sold the company to the Flowers Food company, which produces the Mrs. Freshley brand. He died in 1980 at age 65.
A quick Google search didn’t turn up a “Honey Bun Run.” So like Griffin—and because of Griffin—we can have something original.
I’ve done my part, years ago. I’ve chased countless honey buns with Mountain Dews on morning breaks in the tobacco fields.
And now I can’t imagine why a honey bun wouldn’t go down just as easily after I cross the finish line at the Greensboro Honey Bun Run.—Eddie Wooten
I'd love to know what treasures your hometown's known for that would be good to honor with a run.