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Eighth Annual Hokie Bugfest Spreads Its Wings on Oct. 20

Hokie Bugfest is free and open to the public.

The eighth annual Hokie BugFest is being held on October 20 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Virginia Tech Squires Student Center and in downtown Blacksburg.

The free event has something for everyone including a host of new exhibits and competitions for 2018. Hokie BugFest is a STEAM-inspired (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) community festival that celebrates the joy and excitement of entomology.

In cooperation with the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research, Hokie BugFest is a S.A.F.E., or Supporting Autism-Friendly Environments, event. Quiet hour and activities begin at 9 a.m. for children with autism or other disabilities.

Visitors can creep and crawl their way through three floors of bug-inspired activities in Squires Student Center as well as walk through a beautiful butterfly tent or the spooky Spiders’ Lair.  In the Colonial Hall Auditorium, attendees can watch the Bug Whisperer Tony Gustin with shows throughout the day, or cheer on the adventurous eaters of the Bug Eating Contest at 1:30 p.m.  They can also check out bird-eating tarantulas, whip scorpions, death feigning beetles, and more than 200 arthropods in Virginia Tech’s own bug zoo.

Other attractions include a pollination station that has a working beehive where live bees are making honey and visitors can observe the dance language of bees and see if they can spot the queen. Attendees can also play the nectar gathering bean-bag toss, and learn about the many products of the hive such as beeswax and royal jelly.

New to Hokie BugFest is the Buggy Art Contest where visitors can view bug-themed paintings, photography, and sculptures entered by local youth and adults. Throughout the day, visitors can also play festival favorites like Bug Jeopardy, Bug Bingo, or attempt the Bee Waggle Dance to win a prize.

In Old Dominion Ball Room on the first floor of the Squires Student Center, visitors can learn about forensic entomology, pests of your pets, as well as the latest insect-related research at Virginia Tech. Hokie BugFest wouldn’t be complete without endless arts and crafts, a peek through a pair of Insect Goggles, and the chance to earn a Junior Entomologist certificate.

On College Avenue in Downtown Blacksburg, the first Humans Dressed as Dung Beetles Race will take place at 3 p.m.  – where individuals and teams will compete to see who can roll their dung ball the fastest.  Interested racers can preregister online or sign up at the festival.  Also new to Hokie BugFest is the Buggin’-Out Costume Contest and Parade – where the two buggiest costumes will be crowned the festival’s King and Queen.  Costume entries should check in at the Lyric Theatre no later than 10:45 a.m.  Judging will begin at 11:00 a.m.

 The Lyric Theatre is hosting Storytime with Joelle at 10 a.m., Alberti’s Flea Circus throughout the day and a free showing of the movie “Microcosmos” at 4 p.m.  Visitors can take home a bug-inspired balloon creation from Brandon the Balloon Guy.

No matter how you spend your day, Hokie BugFest is guaranteed to leave you bug-crazed!

For festival maps, a complete schedule of events, and contest information including online entry forms, please visit the Hokie Bugfest website or Facebook page.

This event highlights an ongoing youth education program hosted by the Virginia Tech Department of Entomology, Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program, and the department’s student-run professional organization, the W. B. Alwood Entomological Society.

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