Are you looking for more than the traditional fall fair? Then mark your calendars for the UF/IFAS Ag-Xtension Fall and Insect Festival on Saturday, October 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gather the entire family and set your GPS for the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County grounds at 8400 Picos Road, Fort Pierce. There is something for everyone throughout the day.
The lineup offers free activities and workshops for the family to enjoy, including microgreen and strawberry workshops, a mega plant sale, a 4-H petting zoo, youth gardening activities, pumpkin painting contests for ages 5 to 14, and much more. There’s plenty of shopping available from more than a dozen craft vendors signed up to sell their local products. A separate line of booths will feature resources and services offered at the county and city levels. There’s even a career booth for anyone interested in entomology.
This year’s event has expanded, offering festivalgoers an opportunity to tour the nearby UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC), complete with trams arriving every 15 minutes. Don’t miss your chance to see what scientific discoveries are underway. If your youth loves bugs, there is also an insect fest at the Extension grounds led by the UF/IFAS Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory.
“This will be fun science Saturday for the entire family,” said Danielle Shalginewicz, a specialist with the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County Master Gardener Volunteer Program (MGV). “With an estimated five million insect species on this planet, IRREC scientists like Carey Minteer aim to showcase the wonderful world of insects with activities such as the Bee waggle dance demonstrating how bees communicate, a butterfly building activity, and cockroach races – yes, you read that right.”
For those interested in free workshops, there is a variety to choose from, but registration is required to make room for everyone. Here is a look at registration links to plan your day:
• Learn to Grow Microgreens with UF/IFAS Extension Agent Amir Rezazadeh. Attendees will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a microgreens kit to take home. Register with this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/microgreens-workshop-tickets-724203300567?aff=oddtdtcreator.
• Extracting DNA from a Strawberry, led by UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County 4-H agent John Ferguson, will allow participants to be scientists for the day. Attendees will take home a packet of vegetable seeds to plant in their gardens. Registration link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/extracting-of-strawberry-dna-workshop-tickets-724124183927?aff=oddtdtcreator.
• How to Grow Sea Vegetables is led by research professor Megan Davis and research and education coordinator Amanda Matthews from Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Florida’s salt-loving halophyte plants, known as sea vegetables, are unique and salt tolerant. Registration link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-grow-salt-tolerant-vegetables-workshop-tickets-724209649557?aff=oddtdtcreator.
• Raised Garden Beds, led by Grantly Ricketts, UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County director, and commercial horticulture agent, will demonstrate how to make a raised garden bed, plan a garden, prepare soil, what to plant based on the season and more. All attendees who sign up will receive a packet of seeds to take home. Registration with this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/raised-garden-bed-workshop-tickets-723960845377?aff=oddtdtcreator.
For more information, please contact Shalginewicz at 772-462-1445 or email at DShalginewicz@ufl.edu.