Raleigh, N.C. — Learn more about and even taste some insect cuisine at Saturday's BugFest at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.
The museum's annual celebration of bugs started 20 years ago when there was an American Indian exhibit there. Since the natives served insect cuisine, museum employees cooked them up. Over time, the event has evolved into a much larger event.
Museum educator Kari Wouk said entomophagy, or the practice of eating bugs, is natural to many cultures.
"There’s less environmental impact and it’s a healthier protein. So it doesn’t have the fat that most proteins do,” Wouk said.
Local chefs will be serving up free bug cuisine on Saturday at the outdoor Cafe Insecta. Visitors can get some great non-bug cuisine from local food trucks and vendors, who will be on hand as well.
The event is more than just eating bugs. There will be more than 100 different exhibits, including cockroach racing, a Backyard Bee Keeping class and a children's parade.
The star of this year's BugFest will be the ant. Brian L. Fisher of the California Academy of Sciences will give a keynote address titled “Save an Ant, Save a Planet” in the Daily Planet Theater. Myrmecologist Adrian Smith will present seven types of ants from his lab plus the fire ants in the live ant section of the museum. Leafcutter ants, which are known for carrying leaves and form a line by following each others' senses will also be on display.
BugFest starts at 9 a.m. at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and also spans Jones and Edenton streets. There will be evening activities starting at 5 p.m. featuring live music, bug stations, a street carnival and a nocturnal insect tour. Admission is free.