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Photos: Butterfly Release held at Wilshire Trails Park
Owen Lester watches as one of the the 1,500 painted lady butterflies lands on his father Brian’s finger to rest. - photo by Alexander Popp

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” the legendary Muhammad Ali famously said.

But on Sunday there was no stinging, only thousands of happy butterflies floating off free into the Wilshire Trails Park area and beyond.

Sunday marked the 20th annual Gainesville Butterfly Release in Wilshire Trails Park. At 3 p.m., 1,500 painted lady butterflies were released from triangular paper envelopes to take flight and spread across the Gainesville area.

This event has been a staple of Gainesville for the last two decades. According to Park Board President Kyle Hinnant, the event is meant to pull people in to the park for the day of fun and help the park raise money.

“It allows people to come out and see some of the local nonprofit organizations in the community,” said Hinnant. “It’s a nice family day in the park.”

From 1-4 p.m. park patrons were invited to participate in activities like face painting from local cheerleaders, paper sailboat races and a variety of arts and crafts. Representatives from local organizations like Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, Hall County Master Gardeners and Elachee Nature Science Center were at the event to pass out information about the services they provide.

All proceeds from the event will go toward improving and maintaining the park and trails.

For more info about Friends of The Park and how to support local Gainesville parks, visit them online at

Regional events