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Carin Schoppmeyer: Fairies, fireflies frolic at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Gardens site for International Fest by Carin Schoppmeyer | July 24, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.
Caroline Weaver (from left), 7, Ciara Johnson, 8 and Tiara Johnson, 8, wait July 16 2022 for a ride in their wagon into the Firefly Fling Festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks welcomed little fairies, woodland creatures and super heroes -- and their families -- July 16 for the annual Firefling Fling.

The family-friendly festival fun included "fairy house building, nature stations, face painting, giant bubbles, an obstacle course, pony rides, a live mermaid, fairies, pirates, unicorns and butterfly stilt walkers roaming the grounds," organizers say.

The evening began with a performance by cellist Auralai, followed by Jennifer Brinkley with a story time "featuring live animals for the littlest fireflies." Children's musician Katie Dwyer performed an interactive concert, followed by the Melody Pond Band. Music by JukeBoxx, fire dancing and a laser light show rounded out the night.

Incorporated in 1994 and opened to the public in 2007, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks features a unique collection of 12 themed "backyard" gardens, which helps teach residents and visitors about gardening in the Northwest Arkansas environment and provides inspiration for home gardens. A contest was held to design the first eight gardens. Once the designs were selected, sponsors were secured to provide funds for their construction. "We have been fortunate that generous individuals, organizations and corporations have made the lovely gardens possible," the website states.

The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thursday and is closed for holidays on New Year's Day, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 4 to 12.

A regular summer event, Terrific Tuesday Nights continues this week through Aug. 30. The garden is open and free to the public from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays throughout the series. "This family-friendly series allows the Northwest Arkansas community and beyond to experience the garden on beautiful summer evenings." This Tuesday's entertainment will feature a free concert by Ultra Suede and food available for purchase from Smōk'd TX BBQ and Simple + Sweet Creamer. Shannon Wright will offer a free Camp Gladiator outdoor workout on Aug. 26, and the series will conclude Aug. 30 with Sprinklerfest on the Great Lawn (swimsuits encouraged.)

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

Save the date for the garden's sixth annual International Festival set for Sept. 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 a wide variety of cultures in one place."

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

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at cschoppmeyer@nwadg.com.

  photo  Auralai sings and plays her cello named "Cranky Agnes." (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Guests enjoy cold treats on July 16 at the Firefly Fling Festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Whitney Waggoner, dressed July 16 2022 as a tall praying mantis, greets yougsters at the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Whitney Waggoner, dressed July 16 2022 as a tall praying mantis, greets yougsters at the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Judy Reighter explains July 16 2022 the life cycle of monarch butterflies. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Volunteers Joanna Olszweski and Peg Konert greeted guests July 16 2022 at the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Melanie Scott tries her hand at catching dragonflies with Tynlee, 2 and Vanyon, 4 at the Firefly Fling Festival at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Kathy Launder points out butterflies inside the butterfly house. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  A fairy flies July 16 2022 toward the fruit pops stand. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Auralai sings and plays her cello named "Cranky Agnes." (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo  Adults and children dressed as fairies on July 16 2022 enter the festival. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
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