Penn State's Great Insect Fair celebrates 20th year

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- If you've ever wondered about some of the creepy crawlies you find in your backyard, you may want to attend Penn State's Great Insect Fair. The 20th edition of the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 5 at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.

Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Entomology Department, the theme of this year's fair is "Backyard Zoo -- The Bugs Around You," according to Steve Jacobs, senior extension associate in entomology and fair coordinator.

"Some of the critters you typically find in your backyard will be featured in our Native Pollinators and Insect Zoo exhibits," he said. "You'll also see the always-popular hissing cockroaches, giant centipedes and walking sticks."

New this year will be the "Insect Bistro," featuring creepy culinary creations from classically trained French chef Kristi Branstetter, food lab instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State. For the less adventurous, a food stand will be available with hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks and ice cream.

In addition, the fair will feature the return of "The Bug Man," Ryan Bridge, and his gigantic display of exotic insects. "The Bug Man" also will give special presentations throughout the day.

The event also will include the following fun and interactive activities:

--Butterfly tent
--Insect galls
--Bee observation hives
--Zombie ants
--Build-A-Bug Contest -- Bring your homemade insect for judging and a chance to win prizes (see contest rules and guidelines)
--Cockroach races
--Minigolf
--Arts and crafts at the Insect Construction Company
--Live musical entertainment
--Honey tasting
--Insect collections
--Face painting
--Insect vendors, featuring insect pets, art, crafts, books and t-shirts
--"The BugMobile!" talking car
--The Bug Doctor Is In -- Get answers to your insect questions

Admission and parking at the Great Insect Fair are free, although donations will be accepted to help defray costs. Entrance to the fair is through Gate B of the Bryce Jordan Center.

Accessible parking is available close to Gate B with a ramp to assist those with mobility limitations, and additional parking spaces are available across Curtin Road in the Stadium West parking lot. All Bryce Jordan Center parking lots also are available for parking.

For more information, call the Department of Entomology at 814-865-1895 or visit the Great Insect Fair website.

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Last Updated September 23, 2013