At the beginning of October, Monarch butterflies will flutter through Hill Country yards, pastures and along roadsides en route to their winter home in the mountains of Mexico. In celebration of their passage through Central Texas, Fredericksburg Butterfly Ranch and Habitat is hosting its second annual Monarch Fest from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. Visitors can observe Monarch tagging and release demonstrations, witness the magic of the butterfly life cycle in the caterpillar house and learn the basics of butterfly gardening. Mass releases of tagged Monarchs will be at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Special guided tours of the Ranch will take place throughout the day. Fun and educational activities will entertain the whole family. Children are encouraged to come dressed as butterflies and enter a drawing for special butterfly prizes. Each spring and fall, millions of the orange and black butterflies make the long, perilous trek across the continent to and from their over-wintering home in Mexico and along the southern California border. In combined effort with Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas, Monarchs will be ‘tagged’ and released throughout the event as part of a large-scale international mark and recapture program to aid in the study and research of their migration. Tagging consists of placing a tiny official Monarch Watch self-adhesive tag on the butterflies’ wings. Deborah Payne, ranch owner and butterfly specialist who is in her fifth season of raising butterflies, will tell the story of how and why millions of Monarchs journey thousands of miles each year to spend the winter in Mexico. Admission for Monarch Fest is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, $1 for kids 3-12 and free under age 3. The active working butterfly ranch at 508 W. Main in Fredericksburg specializes in native Texas butterflies, larval and nectar plants, all featured in a 1500 sq. ft. walk-through butterfly house. The butterfly gift shop is open year ’round, and the habitat is open seasonally from March through November. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Payne also sends butterflies for release to events across the country, such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, and many other special occasions. Group and school tours are welcome. For additional information about Monarch Fest, call (830) 990-0735 or visit their website at www.livebutterfly.com.