This is a contributed piece by our non-profit partner, the San Antonio River Foundation. The blog is about the upcoming Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival, an annual event the San Antonio River Authority is proud to sponsor.
Dust off your wings and mark your calendars for the sixth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival, LIVE and in-person brought to you by the Texas Butterfly Ranch and the San Antonio River Foundation (River Foundation). After a year of virtual events due to the global pandemic, the month-long festival is making its in-person return with the FREE main attraction at the award-winning Confluence Park along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk on October 16, 2021. Read along to learn more about this year’s event and how Confluence Park is a perfect match to host this Festival!
Festival Moves to Confluence Park in 2021!
Educational programming and monarch butterflies will highlight this year’s Festival at Confluence Park, October 16. Courtesy image.
The Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a community wide collaboration of private sector companies, government and nonprofit agencies, and devoted volunteers organized by the Texas Butterfly Ranch and the River Foundation. For its first four years, the popular Festival took place at Pearl. In 2020, the fifth annual Festival pivoted to purely online, with more than 20 events occurring via Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, and Vimeo. As plans to bring the festival back to an in-person format moved forward, the River Foundation became the title sponsor of the festival and Confluence Park became its new host venue.
Nestled at the intersection of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek just south of downtown San Antonio, Confluence Park is devoted to educating the community about river ecosystems. In 2019, Confluence Park and its designers Lake Flato Architects won the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) prestigious Institute of Honor Architecture Award. The AIA called the park a “living laboratory” occupying the bank of the San Antonio River, designed to broaden its visitors’ understanding of south Texas ecotypes and the impact of urban development on local watersheds. The park’s pavilion, made of concrete “petals,” are actually rainwater catching devices that funnel water to an underground cistern where it is then reused to irrigate the surrounding native plants, as well as provide water to the restrooms.
Confluence Park is also an ideal place to host this festival as it’s also the host location for the North American Friendship Garden. This 2,500 square foot pollinator garden enhances the existing ecosystem restoration benefits found nearby on the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Walk by adding native grasses, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs that provide year-round opportunities for Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators, as well as resident and migratory birds.
2021 Festival Details
Hands-on monarch butterfly tagging will be a feature of Festival Day October 16 at Confluence Park. Photo by Drake White
Each fall, monarch butterflies make a grand trek through Texas on their way to their high-altitude winter roosts in the mountains west of Mexico City, just in time for Day of the Dead. In Mexico, the butterflies are often associated with the souls of lost loved ones.
The 2021 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival will help raise awareness of understanding of the insect pollinators that make one out of every three bites of food possible–through the lens of the monarch butterfly migration. The family friendly event celebrates science, community, art, and education and includes monarch butterfly tagging demos, a Forever Journey altar that will honor those who have died, a story walk, kayak outings, food trucks, presentations, and dozens of educational booths and vendors. A People for Pollinators Parade kicks off the Festivities at Concepcion Park at 9:30 a.m. Participants are encouraged to “get their wings on.” The Festival will continue until 2:00 p.m. Festival participants will gain insight and understanding regarding migration, immigration, interconnectedness, climate change and sustainability, and reinforce San Antonio’s strategic role in the monarchs’ annual migration as the nation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City.
A Festival calendar page has been launched and will continue to evolve as the Festival takes shape, so check back frequently. The Texas Butterfly Ranch and the River Foundation invite mission-aligned organizations and individuals that would like to participate as education partners to fill out this form. You can also visit the site for sponsorship opportunities.