History of Bama Bug Fest

2016 – MothFest at Moundville Archaeological Park

The foundation of our annual event began in 2016 when the Alabama Museum of Natural History held a small gathering at Moundville Archaeological Park entitled MothFest for National Moth Week, an international campaign to encourage the public to document moth species globally.

2017 – MothFest at Moundville Archaeological Park Bama Bug Fest logo

For the first two years, fewer than 100 participants joined us in observing the moths that came to lights and baited trees setup by museum staff. While the bugs were great in Moundville, we wanted to tweak things and try to grow the event.

2018 – MothFest at M.W.W. Transportation Museum

In 2018, we experimented with moving the location of MothFest! to the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum in Tuscaloosa and also partnered with the Tuscaloosa Public Library. With these changes, our attendance jumped to over 300 and confirmed the potential of this event.

2019 – Bama Bug Fest at M.W.W. Transportation Museum

To continue to build upon our success, we decided the next step should be to expand the theme of event beyond just moths and include all “bugs.” Thus, Bama Bug Fest was born.

2020 – Virtual Bama Bug Fest

Our first virtual Bama Bug Fest was called Bama Bug Fest: On the Web and was a virtual, all-things-bug event. The event had a little something for all ages and took place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from July 7 to July 25, 2020. Content included actor Justice Leak (Hellgrammite from The CW’s Supergirl, a Build a Bug Workshop, School Yard Roots, family-friendly bug-related stand-up comedy, DC Comics artist Sarah Leuver, Spider-Man (Andrew McLean) and Black Widow cosplayers (Andrea Towers), insect-dyeing with The Fashion Archive, baking Chocolate Chirp Cookies with Arthropod Apothecary, and world-renowned Science Educator Sebastian A. Echeverri.

2021 – Virtual Bama Bug Fest

In 2021, we held another virtual Bama Bug Fest featuring Dr. John Abbott (Director of the Department of Museum Research and Collections), Kendra Abbott, Piotr Naskrecki from Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa, Nancy Miorelli from SciBugs (Black Lightning: Here and Abroad), and Dr. John Friel (Director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History).

2022 – Bama Bug Fest Moves to the Alabama Museum of Natural History

On April 9, 2022, Bama Bug Fest returned to being an in-person event, but this year, at a new location: the Alabama Museum of Natural History! The activities included Insect Painting, a Photo Booth, a Name Our Bugs Contest, Story Time with the Tuscaloosa Public Library, various lab and organization tables, and the always popular, Cockroach Tractor Pull.