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Majewski has larger role at county fair with exhibit moved to outside

Karla Majewski has the title of "Bug Wrangler" for the insect exhibit at the San Diego County Fair. In past years, the exhibit which includes non-insect invertebrates had been in the California Grown barn, but this year it was moved to the outside infield area known as "The Farm."

"I'm able to take my bugging abilities to more of a back yard to educate people," Majewski said.

Majewski was also involved in other aspects of The Farm. Kathy Wadham is the exhibit coordinator for The Farm, and Majewski and her husband helped Wadham set up and decorate the exhibit. Some of the 10 animatronic insects Majewski brought were part of her "Backyard Bugs" exhibit while others were elsewhere at The Farm.

"It's very different, but it's extremely peaceful and calming out here," Majewski said. "I'm enjoying being out here."

Majewski, who has lived in Fallbrook since 1987, was raised in Poway and first participated at the county fair as a member of Poway 4-H. She showed sheep at the county fair while in 4-H and later was involved in both horticulture and swine when she was in Poway High School's Future Farmers of America chapter. Karla and Mike Majewski have two children who were both in Fallbrook 4-H; Derek is now 33 and Tim is now 29.

During the 2023 county fair, Majewski's insect exhibit was at the California Grown barn and she also helped set up the "Save Our Water" exhibit in the fair's garden area. The displays at The Farm this year included chickens, ducks, goats, and rabbits as well as Majewski's live insects and other bugs, and The Farm also included produce and herbs.

Majewski provided hands-on demonstrations during the fair. "That's where my heart is, doing educational stuff," she said.

Insects and other bugs are desirable in some situations and not desirable under other circumstances. A section of The Farm with herbs included a sign Majewski made noting specific herbs which keep specific bugs away. "That's probably our most photographed poster on the whole Farm," she said.

The live insects Majewski had at the Backyard Bugs exhibit included morning cloak butterflies and caterpillars, praying mantis hatchlings, and silkworms. During her demonstrations, she let children have scorpions and tarantulas on their arms. The Backyard Bugs exhibit also included books on bugs.

Prior to the June 12 opening of the 2024 county fair, 16 San Diego Unified School District students visited The Farm and participated in a planting activity. "We'd like to continue that program," Majewski said.

In past years Majewski has also had an edible insect section to educate fairgoers about bugs which can be utilized as human food. That was not part of Majewski's 2024 Backyard Bugs activity but might be part of future county fairs. "We'll just see how it fits into a more agricultural [theme]," she said.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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