The Pearl was bustling with activity Sunday for the last day of the 2018 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival, a three-day event promoting science, education, and art, as the orange and black insects continue their migration through Texas.

Beginning with a parade, and culminating in the release of hundreds of monarchs who will continue en route to Mexico for the winter, San Antonians watched as the butterflies flew into the sky and, in some cases, stayed perched on the hands of excited children.

Dressed in butterflies from head to toe, complete with colorful wings and face paint, 5-year-old Abby Schwartz sat with her parents and two brothers, and two monarchs sat with them on a backpack in the middle. She said she released the butterfly she was given, but two “decided to have sandwiches with [the family.]”

“I hope it’s just resting before it has to leave here,” Abby said.

Abby told the Rivard Report she learned about butterfly migration from volunteers at the festival, who explained it is peak migration season, and the butterflies will join thousands of others seeking refuge from the cold.

Click through the gallery below to see more images from the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival.

The third annual festival’s theme was “Butterflies without Borders,” and it included a symposium Friday with butterfly experts and scientists from Canada, the United States, and Mexico, in addition to a bug lunch at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, teacher workshops, an art exhibit, and more.

Twelve-year old Allison Gomez and her brother, 7-year-old Leo, said they attended the festival last year and that the monarchs they tagged and released had made it to Mexico. “We came back to see if ours would make it again and to wish them all luck,” Allison said.

The monarchs are tagged and tracked in a database as they migrate south. In the spring, Alison and Leo will be able to visit a website to see if their butterfly arrived at its final destination: Michoacán state in Mexico.

“I hope they all make it and come back here next year to see us again,” Allison said.

To learn more about the festival, visit the Texas Butterfly Ranch website.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.