Butterflies, which are a symbol of hope and new life, will be released in memory of loved ones Thursday evening.
The event will be held from the gardens of the E. Franklin Griffiths Funeral Home and Cremation Services Inc., 155 E. Broad St., Tamaqua.
“It’s beautiful. Just beautiful,” explained event organizer and office manager Sandy Kleckner. “This will be our third year.”
Each pre-registered attendee will receive a single butterfly that they’ll release at the same time.
“They fly upwards together,” Kleckner said. “It is a sight to see.”
The winged beauties are painted lady butterflies. Their bright orange colors are set off by streaks of black and dots of white.
“They look like a monarch but they are smaller,” Kleckner explained.
The butterflies are shipped in a cooler from a farm in Michigan. The cold conditions put the butterflies in a slumber.
“We have to wake them up about 45 minutes before the event,” she said. “To do that, we lay them out on a tray.”
With a 5:30 p.m. start time, the butterflies will have the required two hours of daylight needed for them to seek shelter.
The Rev. Cindy White, pastor of Zion Lutheran Evangelical Church, Tamaqua, will offer several readings and perform songs with her guitar.
Cookies and refreshments will be offered after the release.
While all the butterflies are accounted, Kleckner said spectators are invited.
The first butterfly release was held after she and E. Franklin “Sank” Griffiths III discussed what they could do for the community.
“We came up with the butterfly idea,” Kleckner said. “It was so well received that we intend to keep it an annual event.”
Many who attend had their loved ones’ services from the funeral home, but attendees are not required to have that affiliation.
Jill Whalen is a staff writer at the Hazleton Standard-Speaker who began her career as a correspondent for the newspaper’s former Shenandoah office and as an editorial assistant in Hazleton. She was the sole reporter at the Standard-Speaker’s Tamaqua bureau until its merger with the Pottsville Republican-Herald. Since then, she has worked in the Hazleton office primarily as a features writer. Whalen resides in Schuylkill County. Contact her at email@example.com or 570-501-3592.