Butterfly Festival goes virtual

Melanie StatenAnderson, Arts 865

The UT Arboretum Society’s fifth annual Butterfly Festival will be available online Saturday, Sept. 19. This year’s Butterfly Festival will be virtual so it will be a bit different, with outstanding lectures, online sales from our creative artists, and to help keep the spirit of earlier festivals alive, a release of Painted Ladies in our rain garden. The Festival will go live online at 10 a.m. and remain available for you to watch at your convenience.


Co-sponsored by the UT Institute of Agriculture, this event has become one of the most popular events annually with over 2,000 people attending in 2019. In accordance with the University of Tennessee guidelines for COVID-19 precautions, this year’s festival has been filmed in advance to be presented online. This will be a different festival than in the past as there are no on-site activities, but we are excited to bring the public some great online options.

Register for the Butterfly Festival here.  The first 100 registrants will receive a small free gift by mail from the UT Arboretum Society. There is no charge to register.

A release of Painted Lady butterflies and two educational talks will be available online for an extended period. Presenters will be naturalist Kris Light who will be speaking on, “The Magnificent Migration of the Monarch Butterflies to Mexico!” and area naturalist and author Stephen Lyn Bales on, “The Miracle of Metamorphosis.”

Artisans offering crafts online will include Bales’ butterfly shadowboxes, Light’s jewelry and Kathy Fahey’s concrete leaf butterfly puddlers. The shadowboxes, measuring 9 inches high by 11 inches wide with monarchs or tiger swallowtails, are hand-colored drawings. Copper and brass handmade jewelry will be available from Kris Light. Kathy Fahey’s concrete leaf print butterfly puddlers with a bag of river sand or pebbles come in a variety of colors. The crafts must be ordered directly from the artists and paid for in advance. Pickup times at the UT Arboretum will be from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday or Saturday, Sept. 18-19. Crafts must be ordered in advance.

Get craft pictures and information about ordering from vendors here.

We are very grateful to this year’s Festival sponsors: Premier Building Maintenance; Northshore Pellissippi Storage; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. – Xi Iota Omega Chapter; Pinnacle Financial Partners; The Rogers Group; Fox Toyota; Hella & Pete Peterson; Staten Communications Ink, Public Relations and Editorial Services, Melanie & Vince Staten; and Obed Forest Gardens.

The Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system. AgResearch is a division of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT Herbert College of Agriculture, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension offices, with locations in every county in the state.

Learn about the Arboretum Society here. To discuss the program, contact mcampani@utk.edu.

Melanie Staten is a public relations consultant with her husband, Vince.

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