Monarch Butterfly Festival is at Lake Nokomis this Saturday

According to the University of Minnesota's Monarch Lab, the average weight of our state's official butterfly is about .5 grams, and the average length of a forewing is around 50 mm. It's nothing short of astounding that those fragile, black-and-orange wings can facilitate a 2,300 mile migration from Minnesota to Mexico.

Monarchs start their travel during the last days of summer. To celebrate, the Minnesota Monarch Festival invites families to help send them fluttering off in style with live music, food, and butterfly-themed activities.

The festival location, along the northeast shore of Lake Nokomis (near Nokomis Naturescape Gardens), has been certified as a Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch. Gardens and native plants play a major part in a butterfly's life; plants in the milkweed family are the only food source for monarch larvae in Minnesota. During the event there will even be a class where you can make milkweed mudballs to be planted. Volunteers will also be on hand to teach people how to attract butterflies to their yards with other indigenous plants.

Other activities include the chance to tag and release monarchs with help from the U of M's Monarch Lab. Participants will even be able to find out if their monarchs are captured or found along the migration route. There will also be art projects galore, including the opportunity to create a souvenir with the assistance of a steamroller.

The festival's all-day stage includes music from Joe Savage and Fiddlin' Pete, salsa by the Tropical Zone Orchestra, authentic Aztec dance performances by Ketzal Coatlicue Aztec Dance Troupe, and more.

Minneapolis Monarch Festival is this Saturday, September 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lake Nokomis Naturescape Gardens. For a complete schedule of events, visit Minneapolis Monarch Festival.

Aztec dance at the Butterfly Festival
Aztec dance at the Butterfly Festival

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