ABOUT 500 BUTTERFLIES, tucked into wax paper envelopes and loaded into Igloo coolers, will be hitting the highway June 27 for their trek from the Greathouse Butterfly Farm in Earlton, Fla., to the Dunwoody Nature Center's Butterfly Festival. It hasn't been a banner year for monarchs, says DNC Director Claire Hayes, but there will be zebra long wings and painted ladies aplenty. Here's what else the festival has on tap:
Helmed by butterfly farm personnel, the tent will be loaded with fresh flowers and layered in a translucent fabric that deflects sunlight but lets in breezes, creating the perfect environment to encourage the butterflies to socialize. Those who want to get up close with the insects should wear bright colors, such as red and orange. Butterfly farm staff will provide delicacies for feeding, such as Q-tips dipped in melon flavored Gatorade, which they call "the world's smallest cotton candy." This year, a colored wristband system organizes tent visits in half-hour blocks to prevent long waits to get in.
Hands-on learning, crafts and boutique goodies
Several discovery stations staffed by insect experts will be teaching children about ladybugs, dragonflies, fireflies, honeybees and insects less popular, such as mosquitoes and termites. Children can complete an insect life cycle model with pasta, make a coffee-filter butterfly and go on an insect scavenger hunt in the woods.
Entertainment and food
Judy Leonard will perform folksy music with an environmental message. Other entertainment includes face painting and the Butterfly Ballad puppet show with Picadilly Puppets that follows Katy and Kevin Caterpillar through the stages of their lives. Hot dogs, lemonade, animal crackers and Bruster's ice cream will be for sale. The Butterfly Boutique will offer butterfly-themed gift items.
Monarchs and margaritas
From 6-9 p.m. June 27, grown-ups can get a sneak peak at the DNC's tent full of butterflies. Cold margaritas and Mexican food round out a silent auction fund-raiser for the center. Bid on items and services including custom portrait sittings and interior design services. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. Must be 21 or older to attend. $25 members, $30 nonmembers.
• THE 411: Butterfly Festival. $5 children; $10 adults; free for children younger than 3. Members pay $4 admission for children, $8 for adults.
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