Fair visitors flock to butterfly tent

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:36 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - Visitors this week are fluttering to a Champlain Valley Fair staple -- a bevy of butterflies for them to see up close.

Despite the sunshine outside, a darkened tent lures hundreds of visitors inside each day at the Champlain Valley Fair. Like Journey Heald and Annmarie Lamell. “I’m catching butterflies,” Heald said. “Monarch maybe.”

“I’m holding three butterflies. One just barely flew off my arm,” Lamell said. “I come in here like every day because my mom works at the fair so I’m here like every day.”

The young -- and young at heart -- are here to wander among the pollinators. There are several different species, but visitors are sure to see a lot of monarchs. And for some lucky visitors, the butterflies might even decide that you’re a good landing pad. “It’s so cool and you can just catch them and look at all their wings,” Heald said.

“I had that stick and the lady put it on for me and then I caught two. So, I had three. Yeah, that was fun,” said Donata Corrigan of Burlington.

Fair staff are on hand to make sure no insects are harmed. They control how many people are in the tent at once to make sure that the butterflies don’t get overwhelmed. And there are two layers of mesh to go through at the exit to make sure the tiny hitchhikers don’t make an escape.

“I saw a big group on one of the leaves and it was five of them just on top of each other. It was really nice,” Lamell said.

The tent is free to visit.