Yes, they are actually spitting real crickets. I had already spit mine and I don't mind saying it was pretty far... I think. I don't know if I had ever tried it before and don't have much to compare it to, but, ... it felt good. I was surprised to see the kids give it a go, especially Sam who is particularly finicky at times. And they told us the crickets were dead, but I'd swear that mine was kicking around some. So maybe they were just stunned.
Either way, the Bug Fest was a pretty interesting time, I'll have to admit. Lots of insect collections, live creepy crawlies, crafts, butterfly enclosures (this was unfortunately pretty weak), and even a bug cafe where, you guessed it, you could try real bug "appetizers". Of course the favorite was the chocolate covered crickets, but the salt and vinegar cricket wasn't too bad. I'm guessing it takes some time to get used to the crunching texture of dry insect legs.