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Hokie BugFest creeps into its sixth year

October 2, 2016

A young girl holds a tarantula.
The Sixth Annual Hokie BugFest will happen at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on Oct. 15.

The Sixth Annual Hokie BugFest, featuring all sorts of creepy crawlies, is free and open to the public Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference  Center.

Hokie BugFest, the largest Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences outreach event, promotes the science of entomology to youth and families through learning, discovery, and engagement.

Headliners this year include Tony Gustin, the “bug whisperer,” and Brandon the Balloon Guy. Gustin is a performing educator, outreach specialist, and award-winning film producer whose shows have wowed children all over the U.S. Brandon is an artist and comic magician who will create a variety of bug-shaped balloon sculptures throughout the day.

Visitors will also be able to  experience a piece of vaudeville history with BugFest mainstay Jim Alberti and his famous performing fleas of the Alberti Flea Circus.

Back again this year are a variety of pollinator exhibits where visitors can learn how honey bees and other important pollinators help make agriculture possible. Participants can also view a live beehive while learning about apiculture and discover how to help native pollinators in their own backyards. A bee waggle dance contest will also be held onstage and winners will be eligible for prizes for best bee dance moves.

The live Bug Zoo will be back and is a chance for visitors to view fascinating arthropods from around the world. The zoo’s residents include beetles, scorpions, cockroaches, centipedes, vinegaroons, and many others. The spooky Spiders’ Lair, which showcases hundreds of tarantulas and other spiders, will be a featured exhibit of the zoo.

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Arts and crafts are always a central theme of the Hokie BugFest, and as in other years a myriad of activities for both kids and adults will be available. Adults will be able to join a drawing class and learn how to sketch bugs, and kids will be able to stop by the Bug Creations room and learn to make bug-inspired crafts.

Traveling exhibits from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Schiele Museum, and the Science Museum of Western Virginia will also be on display.

Virginia Tech police will also be on hand to talk about forensic entomology and how arthropods are used to solve crimes. Visitors can also learn about the valuable arthropod-related research going on at Virginia Tech.

Younger visitors can participate in a 4-H insect collection contest, earn a junior entomologist certificate, and test their knowledge with bug jeopardy, bug bingo, and other games. They can also visit beloved Virginia Tech mascots like the HokieBird, the well known Bo-Ty Dawgs, and Larry the Label.

For more details, check out the Facebook page. This is a Supporting Autism-Friendly Environments event. If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please call 540-231-6543 or email mweaver@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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