Russia: Mosquitoes honoured at annual festival

A man dressed up as a mosquito at last year's festival Image copyright YouTube/Berezniki Town
Image caption Last year's festival featured music, dancing and a man dressed as a giant mosquito

Most people hate them, but mosquitoes are being honoured with their own festival in one Russian town.

Residents of Berezniki, in the Ural mountains, will gather at a local pond to celebrate the bloodsucking insects for three days from 17 July, the Interfax news agency reports. Perhaps the oddest part of the event is the "most delicious girl" competition, in which women will be judged based on how many mosquito bites they receive after standing around in shorts and vests for 20 minutes. "An expert panel of judges, including a doctor, will examine their bodies and the winner will be the one with the most bites," says organiser Natalya Paramonova. In 2013, the "winner" was apparently covered in more than 100 bites.

For those who recoil at the thought of voluntarily being bitten, there are other, marginally less bizarre activities on offer, including a competition to see who can catch the most live mosquitoes. It's the third year running that Berezniki has held the event, and it seems the organisers consider it a tongue-in-cheek affair. When it first began two years ago, Ms Paramonova described it as a "joke festival", saying: "We're going to have absurd events for adults and children." Odd festivals aren't uncommon in the region. One village holds an annual Jolly Cow Herder fair, which includes a cow-pat throwing competition.

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