Freaky Frolicking

The 15th Annual Coarsegold Tarantula Awareness Festival Saturday draws hundreds to the Coarsegold Historic Village

Michael CostaNovember 1, 2012 

Hundreds celebrated at the 15th Annual Tarantula Awareness Festival on Saturday at the Coarsegold Historic Village.

The annual Costume Contest included a variety of interesting costumes, ranging from the more traditional -- super heroes and princesses -- to a man-eating Venus fly trap.

Other Halloween fun and games included a Pumpkin Cake Contest, Scream-Off Contest, Tarantula Race and a Trick or Treat Parade around Coarsegold Historic Village.

Cal Taber, 3, won the screaming contest. The day's festivities ended with a parade led by Kaycee Corneal, who won the costume contest dressed as a peacock.The free event was hosted by Diane Boland, owner of the historic village, and the Coarsegold Chamber of Commerce.

"This definitely is a wonderful, feel-good event for families with children of all ages to enjoy," said Shelle Abbott, secretary of the Coarsegold Chamber of Commerce. "Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino donated 300 pumpkins to this event. That is just amazing."

Families gathered and watched their children pick a free pumpkin and decorate them, with some mom and dads joining in on the fun.

One of the biggest attractions Saturday were the tarantulas that had kids of all ages screaming and squirming. Dozens of terrariums filled with tarantulas of various sizes kept visitors with arachnophobia at a distance, while educating others in the public on how to handle the hairy creatures.

Beverly Jones -- one of many vendors that attended the event -- sold creations inspired by the hairy eight-leggeds. Jones said she started making glass beaded spider jewelry because of an old story she heard about how the "tensile strength of a spider web is stronger than the weight of steel."

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