Despite a rainy end to the day, children’s smiles never faded away at the 22nd annual butterfly release Sunday, May 20, at Wilshire Trails Park in Gainesville.
There were family-friendly activities galore, including sailboat races, face painting, and arts and crafts. Of course, butterflies were the main attraction — and 1,500 painted lady butterflies took to the sky at 3 p.m.
There were many first-time attendees, as well as many who return year after year.
“I love playing at the park” Sydney Lewis said. “I am very excited to see the butterflies.”
Nick Rosenberg, 12, has attended the release with his family for five years.
“I’m really interested in nature stuff, especially insects, so this is always really fun to come to,” he said. “I want to study biology or environmental science when I go to college.”
The event, sponsored by Friends of Gainesville Parks and Greenways, serves as a major fundraiser for the group. Through money received through sponsorships, sales and donations, they are able to educate children about the environment and give back to the community.
“I’ve been a member of the Friends of the Parks board for three years,” said Andy Stewart, president of the board. “The butterfly release always draws a big crowd. We like to get the community out here and show off our park system, because we are very proud of it.”