Mercer County Master Gardeners to Hold Annual Bug Fest

The insect puppet show returns to the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County Insect Festival this year. Pictured, left to right, unveiling this year’s puppet show are Rutgers Master Gardeners Marilyn Orland, Mary Wagner and Jane McPhail of Pennington, and Nancy Putnam of Hopewell.

The 16th annual Insect Festival sponsored by the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County will be held on Saturday, September 8, from 10am to 1pm, rain or shine, at Mercer Educational Gardens, 431A Federal City Road, Hopewell Township. Admission is free and on-site parking is available.

This year’s theme, “Bug Us,” will provide educational activities for visitors of all ages. The festival will feature a puppet show as well as the “Big Bug Band.” bees, butterflies, “Bugs Galore”,”Bugs in Water”, “Games in the Garden” and an insect hunt in the meadow. Plus, Q&A time with Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer County’s Horticulturist, will highlight the many fun activities planned to help visitors learn about the importance of insects in our lives.

Local environmental agencies will also be present with their experts and displays, including Rutgers University entomology faculty, the Watershed Institute (formerly known as Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association), Mercer County Mosquito Control, NJ Department of Agriculture Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory and the Insectarium. The Naturalist from the Mercer County Park Commission will also lead insect-related activities.

Attendees are invited to view the seven demonstration gardens — Annual, Butterfly, Cottage, Herb, Native Plant, Perennial, and Weed ID. Along the way, there will be activities that will entertain and teach children of all ages about the incredible and beautiful insects common to the Northeast.

The Master Gardeners of Mercer County is a volunteer educational outreach program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Master Gardeners participate in many volunteer programs throughout the County, as well as answer home horticulture questions through their Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline, (609) 989-6853, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., March through October. The organization’s winter hours are available on its website. For more information on the Insect Festival and the organization’s other educational programs and events, visit

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