A rustic red sign with two large tarantula silhouettes advertises the Tarantula Festival in Coarsegold

Arachnid Appreciation at Coarsegold Tarantula Festival

posted in: Event

COARSEGOLD — The Coarsegold Tarantula Festival creeps into town on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Coarsegold Historic Village off Highway 41, just 23 miles south of Yosemite National Park.

When it comes to festivals, this one is memorable for a bunch of reasons — not the least of which is that it marks the migration of some of the area’s most interesting residents. This is the season we start seeing the tall, hairy spiders known as tarantulas begin to emerge from their dens and move slowly and carefully about the foothills. They’re nearly harmless and represent a critical part of the ecosystem. Plus, they’re cool — especially this time of year. So avoid hitting them when you’re driving and they cross the road, and plan to learn more as naturalists celebrate the species at the Coarsegold Tarantula Festival on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Coarsegold Historic Village.

It’s time to roll up your pant-legs and lift your skirts a little bit to see who can claim the title of hairiest legs — just one of the offbeat challenges presented during the Tarantula Festival. Men and women compete to see whose legs most closely represent the spikey spider limbs of the Theraphosidae.

While you’re at it, go ahead and enter the baking contest — the prizes are fantastic and effort gets attention. Prep your windpipes, too, because the screaming contest at the festival is to die for!

Add in some pumpkin decorating while you’re there, check out the amazing face painting, participate in a costume contest for kids and adults and even well-behaved canines — and you’ll see why this event is super special. Top that off with creature-safe Tarantula Races and you’ve spent your day in service of good, old-fashioned, small town fun at the Coarsegold Tarantula Festival.

Parking is nearby and, while you’re at the Coarsegold Village, we recommend you get a meal at The Wild Fig if you’d like a nice sit-down respite from the crowds. The patio is lovely and the service and food are great. There’s also Robert’s Frosty across the street for soft-serve ice cream, burgers and fries. Coarsegold Market has all your snacks and — if you’re camping or staying nearby — everything you’ll need for the whole family.

See you at the Tarantula Festival at the Coarsegold Historic Village on Saturday, Oct. 26! Entry is free!