It's a day dedicated to "all things buggy," as the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences prepares to celebrate the 10th annual "BugFest," Saturday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
As the museum's biggest annual event and the largest bug event in the nation, BugFest 2006 promises to deliver quirky, bug-filled fun for adventurous people of all ages.
And for the second year, the excitement will last even longer with "BugFest: The Twilight Zone "(5 to 9 p.m.), an evening portion full of unique "insectivities" with more activities for adults and live bands. (Dexter Romweber and the New Romans, 6:45 p.m.; Countdown Quartet, 8 p.m.)
More than 120 displays, exhibits and presentations will fill all four floors of the museum, as well as Bicentennial Plaza and the Capitol Grounds outside (more than 50 indoor stations, over 40 outdoor stations, and more than 20 presentations for the daytime activities alone). For the first time, Jones Street will become part of the festivities as the street will be closed to accommodate the covered presentation stage and other event activities.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of "BugFest" in grand fashion, the museum welcomes the legendary Jim Alberti and his Flea Circus to the stage during the day, starting at 10 a.m., and subsequent shows at 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Part magician, part storyteller, part comedian and all entertainer, Jim Alberti is a third-generation flea circus impresario. After a long career in theater, Alberti was itching to revive the flea circus that was once performed by his great-uncle and later by his grandfather over 100 years ago. Alberti has updated the flea circus so that crowds as large as 500 can see these delightful performers, including Paddy O'Reilly Shaughnessy who waves an Irish flag, Captain Spaulding who is shot from a cannon, and the daring bikini-clad Dardenell who does the traditional flea circus high dive.
Annual attractions that keep people coming back for more include: "bee bearding," a person adorned with a living beard of bees; "The Roachingham 500," a race featuring Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (Roachard Petty, reigning champ); and the Caf Insecta (featured in Turner South Network's Blue Ribbon program) for all the free bug food you can eat. Enjoy bug-filled fare such as Ant-Chiladas and Tobacco Hornworm Casserole. If you don't feel up for Superworm Spice Cake or Chocolate Chirp Cookies for dessert, traditional food and drink are also available for sale.
By popular demand, the Garden Zone and Kids Zone are both being expanded this year. The Garden Zone will feature over 20 exhibits and vendors. Included in the mix will be expert tips on how to create a butterfly garden in your own yard. New this year will be a large tent full of exhibits devoted to beneficial bugs.
In The Kids Zone, young bug lovers will enjoy learning about the creatures found in local lakes and ponds at the Pond Dippers activity. They can also "Do the Doo" in the infamous Dung Beetle Crawl, make an amazing hat or other buggy creation at Create-A-Bug, explore the giant inflatable caterpillar, jump around in the Toddler Playground (for the very young), or make their own creepy buttons.
One of the more bizarre creepy-crawlies -- the giant Death's Head Cockroach (the world's second-largest cockroach) -- is making a comeback this year as well as two new additions: the Eastern Hercules Beetle and the Giant Elephant Stag Beetle, both of which are native to North Carolina.
All "BugFest" activities are free. People (and bugs) of all ages are welcome.
The museum is located in downtown Raleigh on Bicentennial Plaza at 11 West Jones Street. For information call 919-733-7450, ext. 304/305, or visit naturalsciences.org. BugFest 2006 is solely sponsored by Terminix Co. of Eastern North Carolina-Nimocks Group.
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