COARSEGOLD – Coarsegold is prepping for its 18th annual Coarsegold Tarantula Festival on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10:30 a.m. til 5 p.m. in the Historic Village along Highway 41.
The event features a day packed with activities including the popular tarantula races and costume parade, along with contests for the hairiest legs, pizza eating, pumpkin cake and poetry, plus the arachnidan presentation, pumpkin dance and live tarantula derby.
The annual festival celebrates the tarantulas that come out of their burrows each fall to find a mate, before hunkering back down for the winter. The arachnids’ emergence serves as a forecaster for cooler temperatures and rain in the coming week, and is a reason to celebrate for local townsfolk.
While some people may shy away from them, the tarantulas are harmless, and an important part of the local ecosystem. One of the purposes of the event is to help educate people on the importance of the tarantulas.
“I’ve had hundreds of people who say they spared the life of a tarantula because of the festival. People are reporting they now gently move them from places they’re not wanted, instead of resorting to a shoe or bug spray,” said Diane Boland, creator of the event.
Boland actually started the event when she was new to Coarsegold herself. She accidentally ran over a tarantula and was admonished by her neighbor. That inspired her to help ensure others didn’t make similar mistakes.
“I wanted to make people aware of how interesting they are, how they really are good for the environment and unique to the mountains up here and really a lot of fun,” she said.
There are also plenty of vendors and the chance for kids to learn about tarantulas from experts, and even hold one.
Schedule of Activities – all activities are FREE!
10:30 – 11 a.m. Best Pumpkin Pie Contest
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Decorate Pumpkins
11:05 – 11:25 a.m. Tarantula Poem Contest & Reading
11:30 a.m. to noon Scream Off Contest
12:05 to 12:35 p.m. Community Dance & Theatre Performance
12:45 to 1:05 p.m. Hairy Leg Contest – Men & Women (ages 16-99)
1:30 to 1:50 p.m. Children’s Tarantula Race (ages 3-8)
1:55 to 2:45 p.m. Bubble Gum Blowing Contest
2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Pie Eating Contest
2:50 to 3:20 p.m. Children’s Costume Contest – Trick or Treat Parade with parents
3:25 to 3:35 p.m. Pumpkin Decorating Awards
3:45 to 4:10 p.m. Dance Demo
4:15 to 4:45 p.m. Pet Costume Contest and Parade
4:45 to 5 p.m. Pumpkin Dance
5 p.m. to close…. Live Tarantula Derby!
For more information, call 559-683-3900.