Bug-out with the whole family at the ninth annual Hokie BugFest on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This free event celebrates the excitement of entomology with STEAM-inspired (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities for all ages. Located in Squires Student Center, on College Avenue, and in The Lyric Theatre, Hokie BugFest offers plenty of room to spread out, places to relax, and venues to eat. Come out for a full day of bug-centric performers, activities, and contests. The locations and times of events can be found at the Hokie Bugfest website.
Hokie BugFest will welcome a new event to the program this year — the nationally renowned Capps Insect Collection from the Discovery World Science Museum in Wisconsin. Located in the festival’s first Museum Room, the Capps exhibit showcases hundreds of insects from across the globe. Mike Weaver, founder of Hokie BugFest, describes the collection as “enormous and absolutely breathtaking. It’s a ‘must see’ for all festivalgoers.”
Other new features include an Insect Magician and larger-than-life 3D Insect Projections that can be manipulated from a computer terminal. Families can head to The Lyric Theatre for the new Insect-Costume Maker Lab where kids can create insect-inspired costumes from recycled materials and other items. This is perfect for Halloween or for Hokie BugFest’s second annual Costume Contest and Parade.
Festival favorites include Tony Gustin The Bug Whisperer, a walk-through Butterfly House, and the ever-expanding Hokie BugZoo – with new editions to include an emperor scorpion, damp wood termites, and a goliath bird-eating tarantula to name a few.
Six contests will invite youth and adults to test their wits, speed, and creativity “bug-style.” This year’s contests include the 4-H Insect Collection Contest, Insect-Eating Contest, Buggy Art Contest, Bug Jeopardy, Bug Bingo, Buggin-Out Costume Contest, and the infamous Human’s Dressed as Dung-Beetles Race.
Hokie BugFest is partnering with the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research to provide a S.A.F.E. (Supporting Autism-Friendly Environments) pre-opening from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for families of children with autism and other special needs. A quiet room is available throughout the day, and this year the center’s Mobile Autism Clinic will join the festival on College Avenue.
Hokie BugFest is hosted by the Virginia Tech Department of Entomology, the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia 4-H, and the W.B. Alwood Entomological Society. Generous local and regional sponsors continue to make the event FREE and accessible by all.