Crickets, butterflies, spiders, beetles, flies . . . For those who have a love for all insects, those are just some of the ones that will be on display during the Oxnard Insect Festival at Plaza Park on Saturday, June 1.
City of Oxnard Manager Alex Nguyen proposed the insect festival after seeing a similar festival in the City of Riverside, where Nguyen used to work as an assistant city manager.
“The first impression of insects for many is ‘ew’ but we hope this festival will provide a sense of appreciation and value for insects,” said Renee Rakestraw, recreation supervisor for the City of Oxnard’s Recreation and Community Services Department. “We’ll have educational booths that will provide an opportunity to learn about the lifecycle benefits and uses of insects and opportunities to eat insects.”
Some of the festival vendors on board include the following:
Rincon-Vintova Insectaries: featuring live beneficial insects and educational sessions about planting flowers to attract native beneficials.
California State University, Channel Islands: featuring bee and mealworm farm displays and how to raise edible insects.
California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Plant Pest Diagnostics Center.
University of California’s Cooperative Extension Staff and Master Gardeners Ventura County: providing science-based educational materials and answering questions regarding beneficial insects and the role they play in food systems.
Zoo Med Laboratories: featuring a presentation on breeding and caring for insects.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife: featuring a presentation on monarch butterflies.
Mites Inc.: featuring tiny spiders that are used to plump organic foods.
Mesa Exotics: selling Venus flytraps for purchase.
The Bug Plug: selling invertebrates, tarantulas, scorpions and centipedes for purchase.
Spearhead Pest Control: an entomologist pest control company that will feature insect displays.
Hand-Eye Coordination: featuring insect-related learning tools, toys and accessories for kids and adults of all ages.
Bugalicious food that will be served includes shaved ice with mealworms and mixed insects, candy with insects, Exo Cricket Energy Bars and tacos with grasshoppers (also called chapulines) from Tacos Santa Cruz food truck.
“(The tacos) are delicious,” Rakestraw said. “It has lemon, garlic and crunchy but very tasty.”
The festival will also have an insect costume contest for children ages 0 to 14 along with an art contest from students who attend the Oxnard and Port Hueneme After School Education and Safety Program. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite artwork and winners will be announced at the festival. Beatles cover band British Beat will also perform.
The City of Oxnard plans to have the insect festival be an annual event.
“(The insects will have) six legs, eight legs, some with antennas and some without, some with wings and some without, some slow, some fast, all colors and various body segments,” Rakestraw said. “Most importantly, fun for the whole family.”
The Oxnard Insect Festival will be held on Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Plaza Park, 500 S. C St. in Oxnard. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/OxnardInsectFestival/.