Fables, fireflies fly through the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks welcomes little fairies, woodland creatures and superheroes — and their families — on July 16 for the annual Firefly Fling.

The family-friendly festival fun will include “fairy house building, nature stations, face painting, giant bubbles, obstacle course, pony rides, live mermaids, fairies, pirates, unicorns and butterfly walkers roaming the grounds,” organizers said.

The evening began with a performance by cellist Auralai, followed by Jennifer Brinkley’s historic “Live Animal Show for Little Fireflies.” Children’s musician Katie Dwyer performs an interactive concert, followed by the Melody Pond Band. Music by the JukeBoxx, a fire dance and a laser light show ended the night.

In the year Incorporated in 1994 and opened to the public in 2007, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks features 12 themed “backyard” gardens that help educate residents and visitors about gardening in Northwest Arkansas and provide inspiration for home gardens. A competition was held to design the first eight gardens. After the designs were chosen, sponsors were asked to fund their construction. “We are fortunate to have generous individuals, organizations and corporations making beautiful gardens possible,” the website states.

The garden is open daily except Thursdays from 9am to 5pm and is closed for holidays on New Year’s Day, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 4 to 12.

A regular summer event, Spooky Tuesday Nights continues this week through August 30. The garden is open and free to the public on consecutive Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. “This family-friendly series allows the Northwest Arkansas community and beyond to experience the garden on beautiful summer evenings.” This Tuesday’s entertainment features a free concert by Ultra Suede and food for purchase from Smōk’d TX BBQ and Easy + Sweet Cream. Shannon Wright will present a free Camp Gladiator outdoor workout on Aug. 26, and the series will conclude Aug. 30 with Sprinklerfest (swimwear encouraged) on the Great Lawn.

Spooky Tuesday guests are welcome to bring picnics, blankets and lawn chairs, but organizers ask that pets stay at home.

Save the day for the garden’s sixth annual International Festival, set for September 6. Organizers are working with community partners and local nonprofits to coordinate the celebration of diversity. “The Garden supports diversity and inclusion, and this festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience different cultures in one place.”

For more event photos — nwadg.com/photos/society.

Columnist Karin Schoepmeyer can be reached by email. [email protected]

Photo Oralai sings and plays the cello, “Cranky Agnes.” (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Guests will enjoy cold refreshments at the Firefly Fling Festival on July 16. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Whitney Wagoner July 16, 2022 Dressed as a tall praying mantis, she greets youth at the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Whitney Wagoner July 16, 2022 Dressed as a tall praying mantis, she greets youth at the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Judy Reighter 16 July 2022 Explains the life cycle of monarch butterflies. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Volunteers Joanna Olszewski and Peg Connert welcomed guests to the event on July 16, 2022. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Melanie Scott tries her hand at catching dragonflies with Tinley, 2, and Vanyon, 4, at the Firefly Fling Festival at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Kathy Lander points out the butterflies in the butterfly house. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo A Fairy will fly to the Fruit Pop stand on July 16, 2022. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo Oralai sings and plays the cello, “Cranky Agnes.” (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
Photo On July 16, 2022, adults and children dressed as fairies entered the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

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