Marshall Fire Ant Festival Concludes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/12/08-Longview

Marshall Fire Ant Festival Concludes

       One East Texas town holds the crown for the most unusual fall festival, Marshall's Fire Ant Festival. Legend has is that the Spanish conquistadors brought more than conquering armies to the new world, they brought fire ants. And for the past 20 years, that's been good enough for a festival in Marshall every October.

  "Its a good a reason as any that's a perfect answer right there" says Marshall resident Betsy Bloodworth.

     They celebrate the little yard pest with quirky events like a fire-ant calling contest, and the infamous gurning contest, where contestants put their head through a toilet seat and made some unusual faces. But do they know how the fire any got here?

"I have an idea that they were probably brought over from a foreign country" says festival visitor Erin Lambers.

  "I think the conquistadors brought them over" says 11 year old festival visitor Lexie Woodruff.

       Its more likely the pest came to North America on plants brought here from South America.    

     The 3 day festival drew big crowds once again this year.

     And Marshall isn't the only town to host a fire ant festival.  Ashburn, Georgia celebrates their fire ant festival in March.  

    Bob Hallmark, Reporting bhallmark@kltv.com

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