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Free Family Fun in Okoboji During Bee & Butterfly Festival
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Free Family Fun in Okoboji During Bee & Butterfly Festival

You don’t have to be afraid of bees.

For those with stingers, they only sting as a last resort when they feel defensive or scared. In fact, the majority of native bees have stingers too small to even penetrate human skin.

BeeBo the bee is very excited to share these facts with audiences during the Pockets Full of Fun puppet show 6:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, a part of the annual Bee & Butterfly Festival at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

Ventriloquist Lisa Laird and BeeBo, with friends Herald the Bear and Shiloh the Rabbit, will discuss what pollinators such as bees and butterflies do, why they’re so important and will also address issues of why kids sometimes are afraid of bees.

“My bee puppet is going to be afraid of the kids,” Laird said. “We’ll talk about why he’s afraid of the kids and show the kids why they don’t have to be afraid of bees.”

The Orange City ventriloquist and her puppet friends will also talk about how people can help dwindling pollinator populations by planting native flowers in their yards.

In her fourteen years as a performing ventriloquist, Laird has seen how effective puppets can be in teaching all ages.

“It’s something different. People tend to remember things that are presented in an unusual way,” she said. “A child’s brain is wired so something that is play-related helps the brain to function better and keep those synapses going, and puppetry is a type of play.”

Although the educational components of Pockets Full of Fun are directed toward preschoolers through fifth-graders, Laird said that all ages will enjoy her show.

“Some of the jokes will go right over the kids’ heads, but they’re there for the parents and older people,” Laird said.

Following the show, Laird will also lead the audience in making a bee puppet as well as a stage background that will fit inside an empty tissue box. She will even send home audience members with paper puppets that they can make later.

Laird is a talented ventriloquist who truly makes her puppets, and audiences, come alive.

“I love to hear, ‘Are your puppets real?’ and ‘How do they talk?’” she said. “That’s part of my job as a ventriloquist and a puppeteer is to give some life to an inanimate object.”

The Bee & Butterfly Festival is the biggest event of the year for the Dickinson County Conservation Board and features a full schedule of free events, such as the Pockets Full of Fun show. The festival will take place 4-8 p.m. Friday, September 7th.

Tag a live monarch and release it back into the wild 4-7 p.m. inside the Dickinson County Nature Center, visit the Nature Store and see the design concepts for new exhibits inside the Pollinator Paradise addition.

Visit the outdoor tent for a variety of pollinator-related crafts, face painting, sample cotton candy for $2, play outdoor games, and head into the prairie for a storybook walk. The Farm to Fork food truck will also offer delicious dinner options.

Kindermusik will have a free music program 4:30 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater and naturalist Ashley Hansen will present a program on the Butterflies and Moths of Dickinson County 5:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Dickinson County Nature Center.

The final event of the evening will be a honey extraction demonstration by local beekeeper Steve Anderson at 7:15 p.m. in the lower level of the nature center.

For more information on the Bee & Butterfly Festival and other Dickinson County Conservation Board programs, visit our website or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Image credit: Pockets Full of Fun

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  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    Thanks for this bee-autiful post!
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