Russian City's Annual Mosquito Festival Pays Homage to the Pesky Insects

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Mosquitos are typically viewed as a summer scourge—but each year, the Associated Press reports, the city of Berezniki, Russia pays homage to the pesky, bloodsucking insects by throwing a three-day celebration called the Russian Mosquito Festival.

Berezniki held its fourth annual mosquito-themed fete last weekend, from Friday, August 12 to Sunday, August 14. According to The Washington Post, it offered events and activities ranging from a mosquito costume contest to a “most horrible mosquito squeak” competition, plus dancing to mosquito-themed music. One 9-year-old girl, Irina Ilyukhina, was even awarded the title of “tastiest girl” in a competition after she received 43 mosquito bites on her bare legs while picking berries in the forest. (That’s nothing compared to the 2013 winner who, according to the BBC, received more than 100 bites.)

Other bizarre Mosquito Festival events have included a “mosquito legs” contest, Carbonated.TV reports, in which women were ranked by how spindly—and therefore mosquito-like—their legs were, and competitions that judged who caught the most live mosquitos in a given timeframe.

Rest assured: The event is intended to be ironic, and Berezniki’s residents are in on the fun. In 2015, the Russian Mosquito Festival’s organizer, Natalya Paramonova, described the insect-themed party as a joke. "We're going to have absurd events for adults and children," the BBC quotes Paramonova as saying.

This year's event was filled with absurdity—but it was unusually short on mosquitos. Thanks to an atypical spell of hot, dry weather, Berezniki had so few bugs that festival organizers were forced to forego the traditional mosquito hunt.

Check out a video (in Russian) of the 2014 Mosquito Festival below to get the inside buzz on Berezniki’s annual mosquito party.

[h/t Associated Press]

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