The sky above Wilshire Trails Park was filled with 1,500 painted lady butterflies Sunday during the 16th Annual Butterfly Release organized by Gainesville Friends of the Parks and Greenways, the city of Gainesville and Gainesville Parks and Recreation.
Each year, the event serves to fulfill the mission of Gainesville Friends of the Parks and Greenways by preserving the leisure activities of Hall County residents and visitors.
Leading to the release, visitors could eat food provided by vendors in the pavillion, pet puppies brought by the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and participate in paper sailboat races.
Children’s activities included face painting and decorating their own cookies, complete with colorful icing and sprinkles, to name a couple.
Life-sized butterflies roamed the trails as members of the Gainesville Ballet dressed in costume for the event.
Connie Propes, the chair for this year’s Butterfly Release, knows how important the event is for community connection for area residents.
“Butterfly Release draws no lines. It brings together the full spectrum that is Gainesville-Hall County. You will see there are no boundaries for age, color, ethnicity or religion — it’s a very homogenized participation of people enjoying themselves.”
Multiple agencies and organizations were on hand to talk about their missions and getting people involved.
Hall County resident DeLana Lee said she had been trying to read brochures and pamphlets passed out by the organizations.
“The Humane Society has been a big hit, and I’ve been trying to look at the different groups here and read some of their information,” she said.
Her daughter, Hannah Lee, 4, fit right into the festivities as she sported a butterfly shirt and a butterfly bracelet.
“She’s been reminding me a lot about coming to see the butterflies today,” her mother said. “It’s such a beautiful day for this.”