MARIPOSA – Every year on the first weekend of May, vendors, musicians and celebrants from all over the world gather for a family event that seeks to educate and celebrate the butterfly, along with Mariposa County.
The Mariposa Butterfly Festival kicks off this year on Saturday, May 4, with a healthy-kids run, competitive trail run, and caterpillar crawl, followed by the big Butterfly Parade in historic downtown Mariposa — this year look up for skydivers during the parade. The festival includes a multi-screen presentation of The Mariposa Experience, and features an exciting kids zone, with artists, live music, more skydivers, food and vendors continuing on through Sunday.
About 5,000 butterflies will be released over the course of the festival.
Paseo de Mariposa 5K family run, Caterpillar run, 12K trail run
Saturday morning marks the start of Paseo de Mariposa 5K family run, a 12K trail run, and Caterpillar crawl, all sponsored by the Mariposa County Health Department. Participants may run through Stockton Creek Preserve in a competitive 12K trail run, or run through town in a 5K family run. There’s a crawl on the courthouse lawn. More information and registration here.
Butterfly Parade, Art and Artisans, Food Vendors
“When the festival day arrives, the celebration begins, with the highlight being the joyous act of releasing the butterflies. Mariposa opens its arms to all attending. Musicians, art and food vendors, families and friends come together in a celebration of the Butterfly and an event that honors our unique and fragile ecosystem.”
Vendors and artists booths will be open by 9 a.m. both days, while the Butterfly Parade starts at 10 a.m. sharp on Saturday, stepping off in the center of town and coming down Highway 140. Organizers recommend that parade-watchers plan to get there early for the best view. Following the parade, butterflies will be released throughout the day.
When it comes to the butterflies, education begins approximately a month before the actual festival, when local school classrooms are provided with Butterfly Pavilions, say organizers. These safe enclosures are the environment in which caterpillars will be raised into butterflies before the eyes of the schoolchildren. Students are taught about the life cycle of the butterfly within the context of the importance of preserving our natural environment.
Mariposa Museum & History Center
The Mariposa Museum & History Center’s annual Open House will take place alongside the Butterfly Festival on Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include tours of the Museum and Counts House; demonstrations are set for blacksmith, stamp mill, and gold panning, as well as basketry, beading, wood carving and more. Admission is free!
Festival sponsors include Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.