Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Take a Free Bug Cookie! Have You Eaten a Bug Today?

Of the good things about Rutgers University, the best--absolutely the very best--is Ag Field Day. One of the small colleges that Rutgers swallowed up was an agricultural school, and Cook College's tradition of opening its barns to the public to show off the spring lambs, calves, foals, kids, and piglets persists. The Landscape Architecture Department and the Organic Gardening Club sell plants. The Food Science Department flaunts its latest formula for chocolate ice cream.

And the Entomology Department holds its famous Cockroach Races. Not with urbane little Manhattan cockroaches or naive southern palmetto bugs, either. Nothing but the three-inch-long Madagascar singing cockroach will do.

Oh, and they really do give away free cookies with insects baked in them.

What makes Ag Field Day even better is that the New Jersey Folk Festival (started by another of the little colleges that the university swallowed) runs simultaneously on the next quad over. This large juxtaposition gives rise to smaller, weirder juxtapositions.

You can go from a performance of Dominican political ballads to a presentation on raising alpacas in your backyard for fun and profit. If you're not up for getting a pamphlet on how to build a rain garden, you can learn how to make your own Appalachian-style dulcimer. Too young to understand the lyrics at the singer-songwriter competition? Then you're probably little enough for the children's activities hosted by the rockclimbing club--children between six and ten years of age can be belayed while they Climb the Gnarly Tree of Awesome. (Do you doubt that it is the Gnarly Tree of Awesome? It says so on the sign, right there. And now don't you wish you were ten again, so you could climb it?)

And when you have eaten your bulgogi from the Korean Presbyterian Church's barbecue booth and your Food Science Department ice cream, and you just want to sit under the apple trees in full flower around the Passion Puddle, you can watch joy go by in fifteen thousand forms: all the dogs and children in New Jersey, chasing all the frisbees; poor families from the projects on Neilsen Street and the rough blocks of Remsen Avenue, and prosperous old-school Lefties from the Princeton Folk Music Society; undergrads of every known ethnicity, aesthetic, and sexual orientation, all displaying their identities with every signifier they can muster, and busloads of the elderly from assisted living centers. They've all come to sing along, to point at lambs, to race the cockroaches, to thump the drums, to compete in the pie-eating contests. Every one of them is welcome to a free bug cookie.

It's everybody's day. And what could be better than that?
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