A large crowd enjoys the Nolanville Monarch Festival | Local

NOLANVILLE – The large crowd that attended the second annual free Monarch Festival on April 9 at Monarch Park in Nolanville were treated to beautiful weather and colorful entertainment.

Against a cloudless blue background of a warm spring day, there were colorful butterfly kites, children and adults wearing butterfly wings, a medical helicopter landing, dancing, face painting, playing chess on a larger than life chessboard, petting zoo, playground and live music.

The event also brought together 15 vendors offering various products and services.

One of the highlights was the official introduction of the ‘King of Monarchs’, played by Nolanville Mayor Andy Williams.

Dressed in a butterfly outfit, he danced and led the crowd around the park.

Williams told the Herald: “I’m very impressed with the great turnout. This is an event where we try to bring the community together to have fun and have fun. We have had two difficult years and today we have come together to celebrate and see our neighbours.

Helping Williams dress up in the king’s costume was his daughter, Mayan, 11.

Nolanville Economic Development Corporation Coordinator Kerry Fillip said, “Everyone is having a great time and helping us highlight the importance and plight of the monarch butterfly.

“I’m really happy with the turnout this year. It was a cloudy day at our premiere last year and that kind of spoiled the spirit of the event. There’s a bit of wind today and that’s good, plus the sun is out!

According to Fillip, all of our pollinators such as bees and butterflies are in drastic decline. The monarch butterfly is the state insect of Texas, but its numbers have declined by 80%. She said: “Every third bite of food we eat is due to a pollinator.

“We focus on planting native plants only and avoid using insecticides. Every garden we plant and every event we attend, native flowers are also added,” Fillip said. “We are lucky to be in the monarch migration pattern as it returns from Mexico. There will be four generations of butterflies here all summer.

A weird fact about butterflies shared by Fillip was that when a butterfly lands on a flower, it begins to taste with its feet. “So the next time parents talk to their kids about not eating with their hands, they should think about that fact,” she said.

A cross section of vendors in attendance included the Nolanville Lions Club handing out popcorn and Endeavr, a group made up of engineering and architecture students from Texas A&M University in College Station. The group’s mantra is “Reinventing learning for smart cities”.

Over the past two years, Endeavr has partnered with the city to design and build several improvements, including to Monarch Park.

Jowell Neira of Harker Heights and his son, Demell, 4, were the festival’s first attendees.

“A colleague from Nolanville told us about the festival and we had already bought a kite to take to the park and it worked out perfectly as we were ready to go,” Neira said.

They posed for a photo with a large butterfly kite.

The crowd moved to the football field to witness the landing of a medical helicopter, whose base of operation is Temple Airport and serves Baylor Scott and White Medical Center.

After kicking up quite a bit of dust on landing, the crew of three exited the plane and greeted children and adults to get a close look at the air ambulance and ask the two pilots questions and a flight attendant.

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