KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Butterfly Festival is back in person after two years of virtual festivals.

The festival is on Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UT Arboretum Auditorium at 901 S. Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. and the entrance fee is $5 in cash per carload. Activities during the festival include temporary tattoos, butterfly masks, Magic Color Scratch butterfly ornaments, decorating cookies, caterpillar bracelets, and more.

One of the day’s highlights is the release of 500 painted lady butterflies at 12:00 p.m. Attendees can purchase a butterfly to release for $5. It is encouraged that people buy the butterflies early in the day due to limited supply. In addition, the use of butterfly nets at this event is prohibited.

The UT Insect Zoo, a traveling exhibit of insects, will also be at the festival. The zoo showcases preserved and live insects and arachnids found in Tennessee and throughout the world. UT says the goal of the zoo is to let children have fun while learning about insects and their role in our environment. Two butterfly viewing tents will also be open for people to take a closer look at butterflies.

Two speakers will give presentations inside the UT Arboretum Auditorium. From 10:00 to 10:45, Stephen Lyn Bales will present “Our Beloved Butterflies and Their Hosts.” At 11 a.m., Georgann Eubanks will present “Habitat Heroes: Saving the Wild South for Us All.”

Local artisans Kathy Fahey, Stephen Lyn Bales, Brad Greenwood, Kris Light, and Teresa Myrick, will be at the festival offering butterfly-themed merchandise. Food trucks, including Forks on the Road and Mediterranean Delight, will also be on site.

To help raise money for the festival and the UT Arboretum Society, the group is holding a “Fun Raiser.” People can buy an 18-inch butterfly for $20 to decorate. The decorated butterflies will then be put on display around the Arboretum Auditorium.

Participants can pick up their butterflies at the UT Arboretum. The decorated butterflies must be returned by Tuesday, September 6th.