15th annual butterfly release
What: 1,500 butterflies will be released at an event organized by Friends of the Park
When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, release at
Where: Wilshire Trails Park, near the corner of Wilshire Drive and Ridgewood Terrace, Gainesville
Related story: Children free butterflies after learning about them
More than a thousand butterflies are on their way to Gainesville today in preparation for this year's annual Friends of the Park butterfly release.
The 1,500 painted lady butterflies will arrive in tiny cardboard boxes on Saturday and be carefully refrigerated overnight in preparation for their Sunday afternoon debut.
"It's a rather involved process to have them ready to go at 3 o'clock in the afternoon," said Anne Chenault, president of Friends of the Park, a nonprofit organization that supports the Gainesville Parks and Recreation system.
This is the 15th year the group will hold a butterfly release. The event will be 1-4 p.m. at the Wilshire Trails Park, located near the corner of Wilshire Drive and Ridgewood Terrace. The butterflies will be passed out around 2:45, with the release taking place at 3 p.m.
"Some of them don't fly away," Chenault said. "They figuratively have to sort of get their wings. They have to collect themselves and get that burst of energy to fly away."
Chenault said the butterflies cost about $4 each and the program is funded each year by generous public and private donors. Refreshments will be on sale as well as T-shirts that were designed by a student from Centennial Arts Academy.
Several local community organizations such as the Hall County Master Gardeners and the Northeast Georgia History Center will also set up exhibits.
"I'm not sure how to describe it," Chenault said. "There is just a very warm and happy, good feeling as you see the butterflies go up and the excitement and joy with the children. It's just a real warm, fuzzy feeling for the whole day."