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CNN, Trip Advisor, London’s Daily Telegraph and restaurant patrons around the globe who harbor a taste for something with six legs are discovering what North Carolinians already know: the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ BugFest is one of the most exciting events in the world.

BugFest, the Museum’s biggest event of the year with 35,000 visitors and the largest, one-day, bug-centric event of its kind in the nation returns this year with more fun, games, crafts, and music – including the band “Mosquito Legs.” The day is packed with programs revealing amazing truths about bugs – such as the ones you didn’t know are sharing your home – and fine dining from the world-renowned Café Insecta, operated by local chefs.

The previously crawling cuisine recently won attention from CNN (“World’s Weirdest Food Festivals”), Trip Advisor (“Top Ten Wacky U.S. Summer Events”) and a prominent photo in one of London’s largest newspapers, the Daily Telegraph.

The public got in on the action to help name this year’s “theme bug.” A survey of last year’s BugFest patrons overwhelmingly voted scorpions as the winner, or maybe King.

BugFest 2013, sponsored by Terminix (yes, really), takes place Saturday, September 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free! All four floors of the Museum and its new wing, the Nature Research Center, and the surrounding plaza and streets will become Bug Central Station with more than 100 educational stations, presentations, displays and live music.

Now in its 17th year, BugFest continues to be one of the keystone events at the Museum where visitors turn their fears into fascination, complete with a full day of educational fun for the entire family, science talks, face painting, bug-eating and more!

This year at the Café Insecta, chefs from Rocky Top Hospitality, The Market Restaurant and Pharaoh’s will create a host of bug-filled dishes for everyone to enjoy. Get there early! When it runs out, it runs out…exterminated, you might say. Believe it or not, bug-filled food is in high demand! Traditional food and drink are also available for sale on the plaza and inside the Museum’s new Daily Planet Café (NRC)

Here are some highlights of the presentations at BugFest and where they will be held:

SECU Daily Planet Theater – New Wing (Nature Research Center), first floor and 2nd/3rd floor balconies

1 p.m.: Meg Lowman, Senior Scientist/Director, Academic Partnerships & Global Initiatives, “Hot Air Balloons and Rope-Methods that Scientists Use to Survey Bugs in the Treetops”

2:30 p.m.: Michelle Trautwein, Earth Observation Lab Manager, “The Exoskeletons in your Closet: Exploring the Diversity of Arthropods in our Homes”

WRAL-3D Theater – Main Building, first floor

1 p.m.: Lauren Esposito, from the University of California, Berkley, “Scorpions: Encounters with a Living Fossil.”

2 p.m.: Jason Cryan, Deputy Museum Director for Research & Collections, “The Earth’s Coolest Bugs: The Hidden World of Hoppers”

3 p.m.: Catherine Bartlett, from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, “The Beauty of a Scorpion” at 4 p.m.

Windows on the World – Main Building, 3rd floor

10:30 a.m.: Chris Goforth, Senior Manager of Citizen Science, “Lurking in the Depths: The Wonderful World of Aquatic Insects”

1:30 p.m.: Julie Urban, Genomics Lab Manager, “On my Insect Collecting Expedition to Vietnam I Saw…”

3:30 p.m.: N.C. State Professor Alper Bozkurt, “Remote Controlled Cyborg Insects (As Seen on TV)”

A full list of all the presentations at BugFest can be found at

The Jim Alberti Flea Circus returns with his amazing cast of delightful performers, including Paddy O’Reilly Shaughnessy, who waves an Irish Flag, Captain Spaulding, who is shot from a cannon, and the daring, diving, bikini-clad Dardenell who does the traditional flea circus high dive.

The Main Stage on Edenton St. will feature several live bands including “A Touch of Dixie,” “Shelter” and “Mosquito Legs.” In between sets, the crowd can get in touch with their creative and environmental sides at the Scrap Exchange table, participate in a scorpion craft activity or joust with a friend in the Stag Beetle Battles!

The KidZone will feature the Roachingham 500, where you can “bet” on the fastest Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches in the land;  the Arthropod Olympics (Dung Beetle Races, Ant Races, Bee Races), Bug Bounce, Cameron the Caterpillar (large walk-through caterpillar-shaped tunnel), face painting (small fee) and “Buggy” Bingo.

Movies at BugFest include “Bugged,” at 11 a.m., a documentary about the Asian long-horned beetle that invaded the United States in the mid 1980s and is currently listed in the top 100 of the World’s worst invasive species, and the 1957 horror flick, “The Black Scorpion” at 5 p.m. Evening cooking demos and the “Bug Love Station” about pheromones and how bugs attract mates are also nighttime favorites.

Terminix Companies of Eastern North Carolina is the Lead Sponsor of BugFest. Additional sponsors include Armstrong Cricket Farm and Pepsi Bottling Ventures. All BugFest activities are free unless otherwise noted on-site. For more information about BugFest, call 919-707-9890.