ROSEMARY BEACH — Just as the monarchs are floating through the region on their way back to winter homes in Mexico, the annual Flutterby Festival flitters back to Rosemary Beach on Saturday and Sunday.
Presented by the Merchants of Rosemary Beach and the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, the family-friendly festival celebrates art, nature and the migration of the monarchs.
“The Flutterby Festival is a fun event for kids of all ages,” said Jennifer Steele, executive director for the CAA. “We’ve enjoyed adding new elements each year, including hands-on and interactive stations that allow participants to learn, explore, experience and create.”
The butterflies from the eastern United States will spend their winter hibernation in oyamel fir trees in Mexico (those who summer west of the Rockies tend to winter in California eucalyptus trees), according to Monarch-Butterfly.com. Monarch butterflies use the same trees each year, which is amazing because four generations will have passed since they were last in the region — so the Monarch fluttering into Mexico this winter is the great-great-grandchild of a butterfly that left Mexico last spring.
At this weekend’s festival, children can create their own butterfly wing masterpieces to flaunt in the costume parade held at 3:45 p.m. both days. Children also can create butterfly puppets and other crafts, and enjoy street games, face painting, hula hooping, street and mural painting, and a stilt walker.
Master Gardener Snookie Parrish will teach the art and science of building a personal butterfly garden, and participating children will have a chance to decorate a pot and take home a plant to grow their own butterfly bushes. In addition, hundreds of butterfly paintings created by Walton County students will be on display throughout the festival.
Each year, the students’ butterfly submissions are judged, and one student’s work is chosen for the festival poster. This year, Butler Elementary third grader Madison Strayhan captured both art and nature with her colorful design, which was chosen as the 2012 winner and is displayed prominently on all festival posters and T-shirts.
“Supporting the arts in Walton County’sschools is at the coreof our mission,” Steele said. “By showcasing the talent of our local students at the Flutterby Festival, wecelebrate theirartistic expression and creativity while raising much-needed funds that will go back into their classrooms through educational grants.”
ZooWorld in Panama City Beach will dispatch animal ambassadors representing regions across the globe for interactive presentations at the festival. Students from the Tesla Academy in Santa Rosa Beach will showcase their animal friends including reptiles, amphibians, birds and ferrets.
30A Dancewave will perform choreographed routines celebrating butterflies and nature through dance, while the Tesla and Ohana school bands will give musical performances. The Seaside Repertory Theatre will engage the audience in its interactive performances.
Festival-goers looking for a snack, sweet treat or a meal can sample the offerings by Rosemary Beach restaurants, and families are encouraged to explore the local shops and galleries.
On the East Green, Cottages for Kids will display its whimsical playhouses, ranging from fairytale castles to modern designs. Families are invited to walk through the cottages, which will be auctioned off Nov. 26 to benefit the Children’s Volunteer Health Network.
Admission to the festival is free, though some activities require a small fee; proceeds benefit the CAA. Details: CulturalArtsAlliance.com or 622-5970.
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County serves as an umbrella organization to support the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. According to a news release, the vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County’s growth as a center for artistic and cultural excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened.
- When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Saturday
- Where: South Barrett Square, Main Street and Western Green in Rosemary Beach
- Cost: Free and open to the public, though some activities require $1 tickets
- Details: CulturalArtsAlliance.com