Purdue's Spring Fest offers family fun, free activities

April 8, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is inviting people of all ages to campus for a fun-filled day of free learning experiences at the annual Spring Fest this Saturday and Sunday (April 13-14).

"This is a universitywide open house for families, and it's a great chance to see the best of Purdue University all in one place," said Danica Kirkpatrick, coordinator of the event and engagement program manager for the College of Agriculture. "Visitors to Spring Fest will get a taste of each college on Purdue's campus in a fun, educational day for the whole family."

Spring Fest will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT each day.

This year's Spring Fest marks milestone anniversaries for some academic departments and events.

The Department of Entomology is observing its centennial anniversary in a yearlong celebration culminating in the 23rd annual Bug Bowl. Melissa Shepson, educational outreach coordinator for the department, said it is adding several new activities to the lineup, including "The Insect Play."

"We have a special evening event this year, and we're working with the Honors College and the Department of Theatre to produce the play. We want people to fill the theater to see this," Shepson said.

The play, tailored to appeal to family audiences, uses insects as characters to show the foibles of human beings. Although it was written in the 1920s by a pair of Czechoslovakian brothers, Shepson said the post-World War I themes will resonate with contemporary audiences.

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (April 13) in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. There also will be preview performances at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 9) and Wednesday (April 10) in Yue-Kong Pao Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available in Room 100 of Smith Hall and can be reserved by calling 765-494-4554.

Tony Gustin, an entomologist and "bug whisperer" who will give a live performance with bugs, also is new to the department's activities. He will offer free shows at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Room 105 of Lilly Hall. There will be a demonstration by bed bug-sniffing dogs in the same room at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. both days.

Purdue Galleries' "On Six Legs: 100 Years of Insect Art and Science" will be in Stewart Center's Robert L. Ringel Gallery for attendees to walk through from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

Cricket-spitting contests will be held both days from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  and 1:15 -3:15 p.m. on Memorial Mall, with spit-off finals at 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.  Cockroach racing will be held at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. both days in Room 108 of Smith Hall.

The College of Veterinary Medicine is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its open house, which has been held annually since the first class of veterinarians graduated in 1963. Anna Jansons, a third-year doctor of veterinary medicine degree student and open house co-chair, said a new feature will be the public display of the college's Priority for Paws Mobile Surgery Unit, which makes trips to selected animal shelters to provide spay and neuter services for animals up for adoption.

Other veterinary medicine activities include a live demonstration of a spay surgery, an equine treadmill demonstration, a petting zoo and a fistulated cow that enables attendees to feel the inside of its stomach.

The veterinary open house is on Saturday only.

The horticultural show is commemorating its 100th anniversary. Heidi Blubaugh, show committee co-chair and a senior in horticultural science, said the Horticultural Society's landscape design will feature its signature "P" and a new "100."

The landscape design will be on Horticulture Drive between the horticulture building and the Philip E. Nelson Hall of Food Science. The plants used in the design, including flowers, shrubs and flowering trees, are donated by Indiana companies and will be sold as a fundraiser for the club. There also will be a plant sale in the greenhouses.

Visitors can buy lunch or a snack at booths.

"Besides getting a taste of some creepy critters, folks can indulge in funnel cakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and more," Kirkpatrick said. "For a special treat, visitors can try the fare from our hospitality and tourism management students in the new Marriott Hall."

More information on all activities, parking and event times, and a list of 81 free things to do are available on the Spring Fest website at http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/extension/springfest/Pages/default.aspx, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PurdueSpringFest

Writer: Amanda Gee, 765-494-8402, agee@purdue.edu

Sources: Danica Kirkpatrick, 765-494-9113, dkirkpat@purdue.edu

Melissa Shepson, 765-494-0997, mshepson@purdue.edu

Anna Jansons, ajansons@purdue.edu

Heidi Blubaugh, hblubaug@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

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