Monarch butterfly capital set for festival

Wednesday, October 1st 2008, 3:26 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, INsite Team

COLE, Okla. - -The Monarch butterfly is set to bombard the town of Cole, and the residents can't wait. The town's celebrating the invasion of the flying wonders with a festival. The little hamlet is along the butterfly's migratory route.

Annie Hart is the festival's organizer. The festival offers the opportunity for people to come out and view this natural process, but it's also out of necessity.

 "We are in the fly way of the Monarch butterfly and it's migration from North to South, heading for Mexico every year," Hart said. "The Monarch suffered a devastating blow in 2002. In Mexico over winter, there was a hard freeze and it killed 80 percent of the Eastern Monarch population.

The residents of Cole decided to assist the butterflies by planting butterfly gardens throughout the town. The gardens contain both host plants for the safe keeping of the chrysalis and flowering plants that contain nectar.

"This is our prize nectar source. It's called ‘Mexican Sunflower'," Hart said. "Everybody will get these seeds free when they come to the festival."

While the gardens are free to the butterflies, the festival is free to the public.

"The festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. People can set out they're blankets and bring their picnics, and their binoculars and camera's," Hart said. "They can take pictures of the butterflies and the gardens, and then get prepared for our parade, which starts at 11 o'clock.

There is one thing that might affect the amount of butterflies that arrive.

"Depending on the exact wind patterns and such, we may be fortunate to have tons of Monarchs, or we just may have many," Hart said.

No matter how many travelers show up, the town still vows to party.

 Anybody dressed as a butterfly, caterpillar or flower can join our parade," Hart said. "We'll have a fantastic face painter there so if someone shows up and doesn't have a costume, we can fix them up and they can be in parade."

Cole's Monarch Migration Festival is set for Saturday, October 4.

You can track the migrating Monarchs by clicking this link.