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The Great Texas Mosquito Festival
Some people will look for any excuse to throw a party. For instance the residents of Clute, Texas celebrate the mosquito, the most notorious summer pest and sometimes carrier of malaria and West Nile Virus, every year with a three day festival. The mosquito is the unofficial state bird of Texas and though the state of Florida makes the same claim they have yet to show their devotion with a carnival.
The city of Clute is less than an hour north of Houston and is also known for a mammoth fossil that was found in a sand pit in 2003. The fossil was named Asiel and is believed to be first-dated mammoth discovered on the Texas Gulf Coast. Why the city choose to honor the mosquito and not Asiel with a festival isn’t clear.
Visitors are greeted by a giant inflated mosquito that stands 26 feet tall and is named “Willie Man-Chew.” He is Texas’s other famous inflatable: the first is Big Tex the 52 foot tall cowboy, and ancestor of Woody from Toy Story, who greets fair goers as they enter the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.
There is plenty to do while at Clute’s Festival including participate in the Mosquito Call to invite the mosquitos over or the Mosquito Leg Contest where contestants have their legs judged for likeness to the insect.
Attendance hovers around 20,000 guests and an unknown number of mosquitos likely attracted to the event because of the way the guests smell.
Strangely, not one insect repellant company is a sponsor of the festival. Off! and their parent company SC Johnson should probably look into sponsoring next year’s festival. It’s the perfect product tie-in.
This past June Trip Advisor awarded The Great Texas Mosquito Festival with the title: “America's Number One Wackiest Summer Event” beating out North Carolina’s National Hollerin’ Contest (just hollerin’, no hootin’ ) in June and the Humungus Fungus Festival which honors the largest mushroom in the world, 100 tons and covers 38 acres beneath a forest south of Crystal Falls, Michigan. The Fungus Festival starts this week on Thursday.
Yesterday the 32nd annual festival ended and the United Census Bureau chose to highlight it for their daily feature. The Census Bureau added this fast fact about malaria: “In the U.S., there are about 1,400 cases of the disease reported annually, mostly contracted overseas.”
To see pictures of Willie Man-Chew please visit the gallery on Maynard’s Sports Photography's website they’ve been photo-chronicling the event since 2006.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.