Clay Sepulveda’s eyes darted around from one place to the next. He was on the lookout for butterflies. But he also couldn’t stop getting distracted by all the excitement surrounding him.
The 4-year-old was one of more than 400 people who celebrated the 15th annual Texas Butterfly Festival at the World Birding Center in Mission on Saturday.
The Mission Chamber of Commerce decided to hold the festival at Bentsen State Park’s birding center in order to attract more visitors to the park, chamber spokesman Matt Ruszczak said.
“We want to expose (visitors) to the facility and hopefully they will come back,” he said.
Coming back to the park is exactly what Clay’s mother, Helen Sepulveda, has in mind for future outings with her son. She watched as Clay participated in many of the festival’s games for children. Among other things, he learned how to identify the queen butterfly, an orange, black and white insect.
“I had never been out here,” Sepulveda said. “But I’ll probably come out more often now. It’s a really nice place — so pretty.”
The various festival stations boasted games, prizes and lots of insect exploration for family members of all ages.
One station offered intricate face paint designs.
Another helped children create a hand-crafted butterfly out of a coffee filter, paint, pipe cleaner and a clothespin.
Aissa Garza, 22, of Mission, was surprised that her two-year-old son, Diego Carlos, took interest in the craft and sat down long enough to complete it.
Tears welled in his eyes as his mother told him it was time to go home.
As she dragged him out to the parking lot, he turned to look back at the festival’s activities. “No,” he cried.
“This was just something to get him out of the house,” Garza said. “But now he doesn’t want to leave.”