Nature is breathing, crawling, hatching, budding, buzzing, whirring and sending tiny delegates out to greet anyone who pauses long enough to notice. (Can you tell spring is my favorite time of year?) And Mariposa knows how to welcome and celebrate this season of new life.
▪ There’s a delightful sense of wonder when kids meet butterflies face to face … and when adults surround themselves with that same kind of wonder.
The Mariposa Butterfly Festival takes place every year during the first weekend of May. On Friday, local school students will congregate downtown to release the butterflies they’ve raised in their classrooms for the past few weeks.
The festival kicks off that evening with a butterfly hat competition and the Taste of Mariposa. Area restaurants participate by providing their finest appetizers and desserts. The cost is only $5 per guest. Entry form for the hat competition and details are available at www.mariposabutterflyfestival.net.
On May 2, the butterfly parade winds along Mariposa’s streets. Spectators will start claiming their spots about 10 a.m. Parking is free.
Throughout the day more butterfly releases will take place. Saturday’s schedule also includes a children’s butterfly costume contest, games, food, live music, fire dancing, vendors and arts/crafts booths.
More festival fun and butterfly releases are planned for May 3. Enjoy breakfast and inspirational music in the morning, and vendors, live music and entertainment until 6 p.m.
▪ The Mariposa County Master Gardeners group will hold its annual plant and garden art sale on May 2 at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. Meet local gardeners, find answers to your gardening questions and add to your outdoor spaces at the Amigo picnic area from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Herbs, vegetables, fruits, native and drought-tolerant plants, annuals and perennials, succulents, grasses, water plants, house plants, clay pots, plant hangers and much more will be available for purchase.
Jeff Nicholas will bring his bonsai-style trees and shrubs, and will be on hand to discuss the type of care the miniature plants need. Jay Higbee will give a tool-sharpening demonstration.
Customers are asked to bring their own box(es) to transport purchases.
Master Gardeners are trained through the Cooperative Extension services of the University of California. For more information, contact the Helpline Desk on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m., at (209) 966-7078, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is located at 5009 Fairgrounds Road in Mariposa.
▪ A new exhibition brings the photography of Mariposa’s senior citizens to Mariposa County Arts Council’s Treetop Gallery.
Late last year the council held a second series of F/STOP photography workshops for community members age 55 and older.
The classes were led by artists-in-residents Jeannine Andre and Anna Friedland. Participants used iPods to take photos and concentrated on the artistic and conceptual aspects of photography.
MCAC and Executive Director Cara Goger are pleased to support this new program, which brings another perspective of the region’s history, economy and culture to the county.
The F/STOP exhibition is open to the public through June 30. Images from the program can be found on the organization’s website, www.mariposaartscouncil.org and Tumblr page, www.mariposacoartscouncil.tumblr.com.
▪ The Bootjack Stompers will celebrate its 66th anniversary with an afternoon of dancing down Memory Lane. On May 3 from 2 to 5 p.m., caller Phil Farmer will guide the dancers along their way. The cost is $8 each, and refreshments will be served.
The Stompers swing their partners at the Bootjack Stompers Hall, located across from the Mariposa County Fairgrounds on State Highway 49 South. For details call (209) 742-6230, (209) 966-3925 or (209) 966-7579.
▪ “Wrangling Support for Conservation” is the theme for this year’s benefit dinner with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy. On May 9, appetizers, beverages and a silent auction will start this event at 5 p.m. Dinner will be catered by Pardini’s at 6:30 p.m. at the D&D Ranch in Madera.
The silent and live auctions will feature luxurious gifts. More information is available at www.sierrafoothill.org. Or call (559) 855-3473.
Congratulations to Bridget Fithian as the conservancy selected her to be the new executive director.
Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. Follow her on Twitter @ghostowngal or email her at email@example.com.