Tarantula Fest and Barbecue

Tarantula Fest and Barbecue

First Saturday of October
The tarantula mating season begins in mid-August and lasts through early November, and northern California's Henry W. Coe State Park sees plenty of the spiders crossing its roads during this time of year. Park rangers view the mass exodus as a great opportunity to hold a festival and a barbecue complete with typical fare as well as tarantula cookies and suckers.
The bolder attendees of the festival go for the tarantula-handling. Some even muster the courage to pose for pictures as the spiders crawl on their faces (this particular breed of tarantula is docile and its venom is virtually harmless). Plenty of other proceedings accompany the main event. The Tarantulas, the park's jug music "house band," usually perform. There are also displays of non-native tarantulas, merchandise for sale, and a raffle. The park's visitor center also opens up for people to learn more about tarantulas and the park, which covers 87,000 acres, making it the largest state park in northern California.
CONTACTS:
Henry W. Coe State Park
9000 East Dunne Ave.
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
408-779-2728; fax: 408-778-5749
www.coepark.org/tfest.html