Spider Festival returns to Antelope Island

Tuesday , July 29, 2014 - 5:55 PM

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An orb weaver hangs in its web while guide Stephanie Cobbold looks for more specimens during last...

Standard-Examiner Staff

SYRACUSE — Spider Festival will return for a second year, along with a few new anachrid-themed events.

This year’s focus is on webs and weaving. Antelope Island is a spider haven, and they’re relatively easy to spot. According to Assistant Park Manager Wendy Wilson, they can sometimes be a turnoff for visitors who don’t understand them. Through educational programs like Spider Fest, park officials are spinning a negative into a positive and showing the public there’s little to fear from its eight-legged residents.

"A lot people get really nervous about them when they see them,“ she said. ”Some spiders are very visible, particularly orb-weaver spiders, which are known for building extensive webs in sagebrush and across trails.“

The island has only one species of venomous spider, the black widow.

"So it’s a good place to learn the difference, and learn about some spiders that are helpful,” Wilson said. “There’s such an abundance, they’re easy to find, easy to see.”

Like last year, the festival will have talks, presentations, an information booth and kids activities on all things spiders. New for 2014, storytellers will also share tales about the intriguing insects, which have a pervasive presence in history and lore. Expert human weavers will also demonstrate their craft at the Fielding Garr Ranch.

The festival will start at 11 a.m. on Aug. 9, lasting until 7 p.m. The event is free, but park entry fees apply. Visit the events page at http://stateparks.utah.gov/park/antelope-island-state-park or call 801-230-6155 for more information. 

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