It’s festival time

Butterfly, Downtown fests this weekend


A butterfly flies off the finger of a young girl during the ButterflyFest last year at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus.

MATT STAMEY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.

It's a perfect weekend to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the annual ButterflyFest and the Downtown Festival & Art Show.

Facts

BUTTERFLY

What: The 7th annual “ButterflyFest: A Celebration of Wings and Backyard Things.”
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, SW 34th Street and Hull Road.
Information: Call 352-846-2000 or visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/butterflyfest.

DOWNTOWN
What: The 31st annual Downtown Festival & Art Show.
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Where: Downtown Gainesville, from City Hall to the Hippodrome State Theatre.
Information: Call 352-393-8536 or visit www.gvlculturalaffairs.org.

Everything you ever wanted to know about butterflies will be revealed in a fun and engaging way at the 7th annual "ButterflyFest: A Celebration of Wings and Backyard Things" to be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Florida Museum of Natural History at SW 34th Street and Hull Road on the University of Florida campus.

"This year, we're having more of a festival approach and it's reflected in the entertainment schedule, and we have more vendors," said Tamara Herchel, marketing and public relations coordinator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. More than 2,000 people attended the event last year.

The 31st annual Downtown Festival & Art Show, which will feature artwork from about 250 artists, live music, and children's activities, will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., also Saturday and Sunday in downtown Gainesville.

Linda Piper, events coordinator at the city of Gainesville, said the festival, which is usually held in November, is being held in October this year to accommodate the UF home football schedule. Besides original art, the festival will have activities for the entire family, including live music, a children's area, international cuisine, community resources, and fun activities.

"Come spend the day with friends and purchase one-of-a-kind art," said Piper, adding that 100,000 people attended the event last year.

ButterflyFest

There will be workshops, a full slate of entertainment, arts and crafts, hands-on activities, and the very popular "Pollinator Parade," where children will show off the masks and butterfly wings they will create at the arts and crafts table while also learning about the lie cycle of the butterfly.

In addition, winners of the Pollinator Photography Award will be announced.

Entertainment will be provided by an eclectic slate of performers, including Objects in Motion, a UF juggling club; Suzuki Violin Studio; Howard Bishop Middle School Band and The Sedoctaves, an all-female UF a cappella group.

There will be butterfly gardening tips, native butterfly releases, plant sales, about 16 educational exhibits, such as the Alachua Audubon Society, the Jacksonville Zoo and the Alachua County Beekeepers Club. In addition, there will be vendors offering a wide range of merchandise such as jewelry, garden items and food from the Grilled Cheese Wagon, High Springs Orchard and Bakery and Tropical Sno.

"Children of all ages can participate in fun hands-on activities, and even toddlers will enjoy the ButterflyFest and learn," Herchel said.

Downtown Fest

Kicking off this year's festival will be the "Let's Go Downtown Free Fridays" concert series featuring groups from the UF School of Music. They will include the World Music Ensemble, the Jazz Combo, and the Sunshine Steelers Steel Drum Band at 8 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza.

A highlight of the festival will be the Downtown Blues Concert from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, also at the Bo Diddley plaza, presented by the North Florida Blues Society and featuring Terraplane Blues Band, the R. Mutt Blues Band and the headliner, John Nemeth, a rising national and international blues star. Art lovers will have an opportunity to purchase and view original artwork, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, sculpture, jewelry, decorative ceramics and photography. The featured artists will compete for $14,000 in cash prices and $3,000 in purchase awards.

"Our artists were selected from a pool of 600 that applied," Piper said. "We have the cream of the crop, and our community is really fortunate to have fine art of this caliber."

Children will have an opportunity to let loose their creative flair at the "Imagination Station," a hands-on area for children to enjoy arts and crafts.

Festivalgoers will enjoy non-stop entertainment featuring local bands, solo performers and dance groups, all taking place at the Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza, as well as the stage behind the Hippodrome State Theatre and the "Imagination Station" stage at SE 2nd Avenue and Main Street, which will feature magic shows, puppet shows, and music for children.

Piper said there will be more than 20 food vendors offering a wide range of foods, including bloomin' onions, sweet barbecue ribs, Mediterranean pitas, Cajun and Thai cuisine. More than 55 non-profit organizations will be represented, such as the Harn Museum of Art, the Humane Society of Alachua County, the Sierra Club, and the LifeSouth Bloodmobile.

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