The University of North Georgia's Student Newspaper




They’re Giving Us Butterflies

26th Annual Butterfly Release
DeAnna Mayfield

Fall is officially here and with it brings festivals like the 26th Annual Butterfly Release held at Longwood Park in Gainesville on Sunday, September 24th. The festival has become a well-loved family tradition hosted by Gainesville Parks and Recreation in partnership with Park-to-Park Connectivity. The non-profit organization whose mission is to beautify, preserve, and restore the parks in the community also beautified the skies by releasing over 1000 Painted Lady Butterflies. Every child at the event was given an envelope containing a single delicate butterfly. At 3pm, facilitators instructed them to carefully open the envelope for a coordinated release after the countdown.

Families with children of all ages gathered for the festivities. As the warm sun sparkled across Lake Lanier, a cool breeze carried the smell of tacos throughout the park. Lines of people formed around the food trucks, and beer stations. Children had their faces painted and made butterfly crafts while music played from the pavilion. With vendors like Girl Scouts USA, Lanier Kayak Club, and Citizen’s Climate Lobby the event offered educational opportunities for the community in personal health and environmental awareness.

“We volunteer to maintain 26 community gardens in Hall County, like the Butterfly gardens in Wilshire Park just across the street,” said Bev Gilbert, a volunteer for the Master Gardeners of Hall County. The event helps provide support for community-based projects, and this year their goal was to raise $10,000 for their campaign. Margaret Rasmussen, Executive Director of the Redbud Project, attended to promote public awareness of Hall County’s native plants, and their value to the ecosystem. She said she enjoys educating the community about how they can help preserve the environment by using natural landscape.

Art has always been a component of the festival thanks to a partnership with the Quinlan Art Center. After studying Georgia’s native butterflies, students at City of Gainesville and Hall County Schools entered a butterfly themed art competition for a chance to win cash prizes and showcase their art at the festival. This year, Vanessa Gay a senior at Lakeview Academy, won first place and $500. Amber LaMattina, from Oakwood came out for the first time this year. “I mentioned this festival to my parents, and they were excited to come see what it was all about. There are more people and activities going on than I thought there would be. We are excited to see all the butterflies,” she said.

The Gainesville Parks and Recreation Foundation meets at the Gainesville Civic Center on the first Thursday of every month. Anyone that wants to do volunteer work or provide financial support is encouraged to attend.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect for this event. We will definitely make it a new tradition.”

~Amber LaMattina



Leave a Comment
Donate to Vanguard

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of North Georgia. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Vanguard

Comments (0)

All Vanguard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *