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KWEC’s Butterfly Festival returns
Photo by Pam Martin A participant in a past butterfly festival releases a tagged monarch. Tagging is always a popular activity during the annual event, taking place Sept. 17, with a puppet show, crafts, insect and much more rounding out the activities.

Butterflies, bees, and bugs, oh my! All will be in residence at KWEC’s annual, free Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. Activities will take place throughout the building and outside, including tagging monarch butterflies, crafts and StoneLion Puppet Theater’s Backyard Buggin’. 

Featuring large, colorful puppets, Backyard Buggin’ takes audience members on a trip through the grass where insects rule. The stage “grows” to make audience members bug size and the bugs, human size. Puppet characters include a dragonfly, painted lady butterfly, tree frog, slug and more.

The show will take place on an outdoor stage, so bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy two performances at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

StoneLion Puppet Theater has been entertaining audiences for 29 years. The non-profit company includes an international touring company and arts education teaching staff. In between the two performances, they will provide a puppet-making craft.

Dancing butterflies will take center stage in KWEC’s auditorium, with the Barton Dance Theater from Barton Community College, providing two performances at 10:15 and 11 a.m. Following the performances, dancers will conduct a short dance workshop for children, complete with costumes. The workshops will take place outside. There is a limit of 10 children (ages 5-10) per workshop and registration is required by calling KWEC’s toll-free telephone number, 877-243-9268. The registration deadline is Sept. 14.  

Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants head out into the flower-filled fields and shelter belt around KWEC to hunt monarchs, with tagging leaders stationed along the trail to help with the tagging process.

Ten monarchs tagged at last year’s tagging event were recovered at three Mexico roost sites. 

Weather permitting, a demonstration beehive will be on display in the insect zoo, in addition to giant walking stick insects, butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalises, fluorescing scorpions and more. Kids can make a butterfly banner at the craft station in the multi-purpose shelter, make and lob wildflower seed bombs, get a temporary butterfly tattoo and take part in games and other activities. 

View the butterfly/pollinator garden for wildflower planting ideas to take home. Milkweed plants will be available free until they run out. When you need a break, stop by the refreshment table and have a cookie or two, and lemonade or iced tea.