I had not attended the annual Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (California) since about 2011, so I was overdue in seeing old friends and making new ones. Heidi and I had a wonderful time, and stayed in the area for the week afterwards to enjoy some of the natural areas in the greater Los Angeles region, as well as spend time socializing. The fair itself is a major event, one that regularly sets museum attendance records for the year. During the global pandemic, there was no Bug Fair until 2022, and even then it was a scaled-down version. This year it was back to full strength.
Bug Fair happens the weekend before the Memorial Day weekend every year, and takes over two halls, plus the rotunda, and various outdoor extensions of the museum. It includes vendors of entomological supplies, live specimens, and preserved specimens. Many organizations and government agencies have tables as well, and there are a fair number of artists. I was the only author with a dedicated table.
Lisa Gonzalez, one of my friends from prior Bug Fairs, is now the Program Manager of Invertebrates. Among her multiple talents is macro photography. Her images of museum specimens, taken with a focus stacking camera apparaatus, were on exhibit during the fair. I love that the interpretive text was in both English and Spanish.
I grossly underestimated the enduring popularity of the printed word, and sold out of some of my books the first day. The following day, we were taking prepaid orders and promising free shipping. I will know better next time, but when that will be is anyone's guess. I am currently working on another book, for which I do not yet have a publisher. An agent is reviewing the proposal, and hopefully we can begin shopping it around to various houses in the near future.
It was rejuvenating to see old friends like the Beetlelady, Dr. Stephanie Dole, who has built a pop-up insect museum she deploys at various venues upstate. She is also a gifted artist, cosplay enthusiast, and mother to two wonderful children.
I would highly recommend Bug Fair as an event worth planning a vacation around. The greater Los Angeles region has a surprising number of parks with unique flora and fauna, a perfect complement to the exotic specimens to be found at the fair. There are plenty of cultural experiences, too. Shoot, I'd go back for the churro cart in Long Beach alone.