NEAR PARIS, AR - The 17th annual Mt. Magazine International Butterfly Festival kicks off today at the Logan County Fairgrounds in Paris and atop Mt. Magazine at the State Park.
It features a live butterfly observatory, art show, photo contest, pageant, arts & crafts and food.
Mt. Magazine State Park is a nature-lover's paradise. Not only because Arkansas's newest state park is located 2,753 feet above sea level offering cooler summertime temperatures, but because the altitude, geography and climate of the park's 2,200 acres combine to create unique habitats for rare plants, animals and, especially, the nation's showcase butterfly, the Diana Fritillary.
Butterfly enthusiasts from around the world are lured by the many species found on Mt. Magazine. From the first Mt. Magazine International Butterfly Festival held in 1997, the festival has enticed thousands of people from more than 45 of the United States and half a dozen countries.
Arkansas has a total of 127 resident species of butterfly, and of those, 91 appear on Mt. Magazine's plateau-like summit. Virtually all Arkansas resident butterflies are represented in plentiful numbers on the mountain.
The Diana Fritillary -- seen only occasionally in other parts of the United States -- consistently reproduces on the mountain, making Mt. Magazine one of the country's biological "hot spots" -- a living butterfly "Eden."
The festival officially begins at 8:00 a.m. at Mt. Magazine State Park with horticultural and butterfly seminars, nature walks with interpreters and other family-friendly events.
Downtown Paris events occur in conjunction with the State Park on Friday & Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Logan County Fairgrounds, with various activities including a Photography contest, Fine Art Show & Sale, Craft Show/Sale, and a Live Butterfly Observatory Tent at the fairgrounds on Friday & Saturday, Running for Missions 5K Race (Saturday at 1111 South Elm Street - First Assembly of God Church at 7:00 a.m.) and a Motorcycle Rally & Poker Run (Saturday on the downtown square at 9:00 a.m.).
Click here for the schedule.
Click here for the gallery of butterfly photos.
Story information and photos courtesy of the Mt. Magazine International Butterfly Festival website. Some photos courtesy Don R. Simons.
Copyright 2013 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved.