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TEXAS HAS WORLD'S LARGEST MOSQUITO

The 125 residents of Komarno, Manitoba, will be dismayed to learn that their giant weathervane is only The World's Second Biggest Mosquito, and even their town is only The World's Second Biggest Place Called Komarno. The World's Biggest Mosquito is Willie-Man-Chew, a 26 ft. statue with a cowboy hat, boots, blown-up wings and a big stinger, and is the pride and joy of the small Texas town of Clute, while The World's Biggest Komarno is a town of 40,000 people in the eastern European republic of Slovakia.

Clute, Texas (55 miles southeast of Houston) hosted its 22nd annual Great Texas Mosquito Festival  in July. The three-day festival, designed to promote and encourage tourism, attracted some 20,000 visitors. The program included a 5000 m. Mosquito Chase, a Ms. Quito Beauty Pageant, a Mr & Mrs. Mosquito Legs Contest, and a Mosquito Calling Contest.

Komarno, Manitoba, 60 km. north of Winnipeg, is justifiably proud of its huge steel weathervane shaped like a mosquito, with a wingspan measuring 15ft (4.6 metres). [Komar is the Slovak word for mosquito.]

"Many people stop by to take pictures of our big mosquito weathervane," says Paul Arsenault, a 71-year-old retired engineer who has lived in Komarno since 1990. He knows a lot about mosquitoes, having worked for seven years in the west African republic of Guinea. "Komarno is said to be the mosquito capital of Manitoba. We have mosquitoes, but they are not as bad as people say. The only monster mosquito is the statue."

Most of us have heard stories about mosquitoes big enough to devour a man. Well, Canada's northern town of Upsala, Ontario, in bear-hunting country, boasts a statue of a man being carried away by a fearsome mosquito. You can see it on the internet at Blair Rasmussen's webpage.

What about The World's Biggest Place Named Komarno? We found a Slovakian website which says: "The Komarno region is situated on the left bank of the Danube River, at the confluence of the Little Danube, Nitra, and Zitavy tributaries. It is not only the southern most point in Slovakia but also the lowest, with the altitude of this region rising only 110 - 270 meters. In the flat lowlands near the rivers bloom countless acacia, bountiful in nectar, poplar and willow trees."

They probably have mosquitoes there too.

SK: Saskatchewan or Slovakia?

It's just as well the Canadian town of Komarno is in Manitoba instead of in the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan. says David Yanciw, whose website, Big Things of a Big Country, displays a fine photograph of the Big Mosquito.

David lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where the name of his province is abbreviated to sk, which is also the international abbreviation for Slovakia, where the larger and older Komarno is situated.

[An example of possible confusion: the Government of Saskatchewan's website is www.gov.sk.ca while the Slovakian Tourist Agency's is www.sacr.sk]

"Most people think of these Big Things as corny and embarrassing and a waste of money," says David. "I have had many opportunities to work with and analyze small prairie communities and I am amazed at the differences in attitude you come across.

"In some places, everyone there has given up on the town surviving and in other places the town will never disappear because the residents just won't let it. Sometime, when you are in the neighbourhood of a Big Thing, stop by, take a look, buy something and help the town survive."

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Copyright 2002

  Eric Shackle   

Story first posted December 2002

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