"I don't do mosquitoes," Dana Pomerenke emphatically stated. "There's nothing more miserable than a leg full of mosquitoes."
Maybe Ms. Pomerenke doesn't "do mosquitoes" on a personal level, but professionally, she does mosquitoes big time.
She is chairing the Great Mosquito Festival in Clute, Texas, Thursday through Saturday
For the 12th year, this coastal town of 9,500 south of Houston will pay homage to the pesky, blood-sucking insect.
"Back about 13 years ago, there was a controversy in the area about changing the name of Clute," said Ms. Pomerenke, also director of the Parks and Recreation Department. "The Clute Cultural Advancement Committee was formed to come up with something to promote Clute.
"Someone suggested a rodeo, but we don't have a rodeo arena. We're eight miles from the water, so we couldn't really have a water festival. In the course of the brainstorming session, someone said, 'We could have a mosquito festival. Lord knows we have a lot of those.' "
The rest, as they say, is history.
Last year's festival attracted 40,000 people. There is no available head count on the mosquitoes.
In all honesty, mosquitoes of the live sort are discouraged from attending their own festival.
"We try to make our patrons as comfortable as possible," Ms. Pomerenke said, admitting that the city generally sprays for mosquitoes before the event.
The festival pays tribute to a custom-made inflatable mosquito, Willie Man Chew. Promoted as the world's biggest mosquito, Willie wears a cowboy hat and boots.
The festival features lots of mosquito-themed contests, including the mosquito legs look-alike contest, the mosquito chase (one-mile and 5K runs) and a mosquito-calling contest.
For more information, call (409) 265-8392.