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From a mind-controlled car and racing robotic fish to cricket spitting, this year’s Spring Fest offers plenty of fun

Guests at this year’s Spring Fest hosted by Purdue University Extension might feel like extras in an epic science fiction film. They’ll have a chance to race robotic fish, operate a mind-controlled model car and interact with monstrous insects nearly half-a-foot long - all to celebrate the joy of learning.

“Spring Fest is a great opportunity for members of the community to find out more about the amazing things happening here at the College of Agriculture and throughout the University,” says Amy Winger, event coordinator. “There will be food, games, crafts, educational exhibits and demonstrations - something for the whole family.”

This year’s Spring Fest will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, on the grounds of the Purdue University College of Agriculture, 615 W. State St., West Lafayette. Numerous departments and student groups will offer fun, interactive learning activities on topics ranging from healthy eating to virtual reality. The event is free, although there is a cost for some activities and refreshments.

Highlights of this year’s event include:

* Bug Bowl: The Department of Entomology will host an insect petting zoo, featuring the 6-inch-long Madagascar hissing cockroach, as well as the traditional cricket spitting competition. Guests can partake in honey tasting, peer through a glass bee hive and visit an arthropod observation room. For the more artistically inclined, there will be insect face painting and crafts and Smith Hall will be decorated with entries from the annual K-12 Insect Art Contest.

* Robotic fish race: Visitors will learn more about the destructive impact of invasive species by racing robotic fish in an event sponsored by Purdue Collegiate 4-H.

* Boiler Barnyard: The new Land O’Lakes Pavilion will host a family-oriented livestock display featuring cows, chicken, pigs, sheep and chickens from the Department of Animal Sciences.

* Chicken embryology: On Saturday, the Department of Biological Sciences will offer visitors an opportunity to look into a fertilized egg to view a developing chicken embryo. On Sunday, the department will demonstrate a mind-controlled model car – visitors can don a cap equipped with electrodes and make the model car speed up or turn through the electrical activity of their brain.

* Journey to Lyles-Porter Hall: Students from the IU School of Medicine-West Lafayette will guide visitors on an adventure to learn more about the human circulatory, skeletal, digestive and immune systems.

* Horticulture Show: The Purdue Horticulture Society will present its 105th annual Horticulture Show Saturday and Sunday. Anyone shopping for trees, perennials or bedding plants, should visit the plant sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

* College of Veterinary Medicine Open House: The College of Veterinary Medicine will host its 56th annual open house on Saturday. The open house includes a petting zoo with a horse, llamas, goats, chicks, ducklings and more. There will also be live demonstrations featuring working animals, and a live video stream of an animal surgery procedure.

* Experience the genius of Leonardo da Vinci: Students from the Purdue Honors College will demonstrate simple machines based on designs by Leonardo da Vinci, along with 20 “perspectographs” - a da Vinci creation that families can use to create a fun art project.
From racing robotic fish and a mind-controlled model car to cricket spitting and livestock demonstrations, this year’s Spring Fest will provide plenty of fun for the entire family. Spring Fest 2018 runs April 14 and 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, on the grounds of the College of Agriculture, 615 W. State St. (Purdue Agricultural Communication image) From racing robotic fish and a mind-controlled model car to cricket spitting and livestock demonstrations, this year’s Spring Fest will provide plenty of fun for the entire family. Spring Fest 2018 runs April 14 and 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, on the grounds of the College of Agriculture, 615 W. State St. (Purdue Agricultural Communication image)

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