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New Harmony Firefly Festival
June 17, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Watching fireflies flicker is one of the most magical experiences a kid of any age can experience. These fascinating creatures come out for a brief time after dark during a season that lasts only a few weeks each year, but New Harmony has all the right conditions for fireflies to flourish, providing a home to hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions!) of the blinking beetles seeking mates.
The New Harmony Firefly Festival honors the state insect, Say’s Firefly, while providing opportunities to learn about it and other fireflies that call our area home.
Nature Specialist Amelia Wildeman from Harmonie State Park will lead a walking tour at 8:30 pm Friday night from the Atheneum Visitor’s Center down to where the fireflies come up from the low vegetation and the males soar up to 80 feet in the trees to begin the blinkfest that is their mating ritual. She will share her knowledge of fireflies along the way and even tell you how to spot fireflies in their larva stage.
We’ll also have golf carts with knowledgeable guides take you into the woods after dark for the best viewing of the fireflies putting on their show — nature’s fireworks. It has been described by past attendees as a “mind-blowing experience.” Hard to describe, almost impossible to capture with a camera, it’s something you must be present for. Relax and soak in the magic. Bring your kids. Feel like a kid again. Come enjoy one of life’s purest simple pleasures.
Plein air painters are invited to try to translate the sight to canvas.
On Saturday — Day Two of the 2023 Firefly Festival
— activities begin at 2:00 p.m. and go until 10:00. Arrive earlier in the day and enjoy the Farmer’s & Artisan’s Market in front of the Working Men’s Institute from 9:00 to Noon.
Join us at 2:00 at the Working Men’s Institute, 407 Tavern Street, for “Firefly Facts” — everything you ever wanted to know about lightning bugs (aka fireflies). Having the lowdown on everything from where fireflies are found to their lifecycle to what they eat and why they are lighting up will help you appreciate them even more.
Masterful storyteller Charlie Gaston will enthrall the children with his reading of firefly stories at the WMI beginning at 3:00.
Across the hall from storytime at the WMI, Terry Priest will speak from 3:00 to 3:30 to explain the techniques and equipment he developed over the last sixteen years to allow him to get within two inches of fireflies to photograph them in incredible detail. His photographs will appear on the big screen and he will supply detailed information about firefly behavior and anatomy.
At 3:30, we invite anyone who has ever desired to capture firefly activity with their camera (and ended up mostly disappointed!) to gather in an informal session to share tips and techniques for getting satisfying shots. We’ll show examples from some of the noteworthy firefly photography pioneers, providing useful takeaways.
Before or after, go shop the unique shops around town, from the gift shop at the Atheneum to the firefly section at Capers Emporium. Take a nap if you (or the kids) need one), enjoy one of the local eateries (or grab picnic fixings from Old Mill Mart and head to one of New Harmony’s beautiful parks) and get ready for a big evening!
Patty Beagle will lead Glow Yoga at the Cathedral Labyrinth on North Street beginning at 8:00 p.m. Bring your yoga mat and comfy clothes and plan to participate in this beautiful happening where you will start to see the fireflies emerge from the low vegetation around the labyrinth and begin their light show as you stretch and bend and get your Zen on.
Just after 8:30 pm, we will start to gather in the Atheneum parking lot to experience the magic of the fireflies. We invite you to snap some pics at our special firefly photo op. Ham it up for the camera and memorialize your journey into the firefly zone.
Randy Pease will kick off the viewing party by performing his song (which has become the official song of the Firefly Festival) “And the Fireflies Flicker.”
Guided tours on golf carts will depart from the parking lot at the Atheneum after dark to take visitors to our favorite spots for viewing thousands of fireflies putting on their show — nature’s fireworks.
If you prefer to go on foot, we’ll point you to the nearby areas where the fireflies are most intense so you can enjoy them at your own pace. We’ll have firefly maps. You could bring a folding chair and go on foot or golf cart (or to some spots in your car) if you want to do your own self-guided tour.
While you’re out, you may see plein air painters rising to the challenge of capturing firefly scenes on canvas.
And did we mention the pub crawl? The American Legion Post 370, Red Geranium and Grapevine Bar, Sara’s Wine & Bier Bar, and Yellow Tavern will welcome you!