TYLER — Breedlove Nursery & Landscape in Tyler was open through the pandemic, as it is considered an essential business.

Co-owner of the nursery Laurie Breedlove explained that throughout the quarantine, she noticed people would come by the store to simply look around and get out of the house.

On Saturday, the nursery hosted a Butterfly Festival as a way to give the community something unique to do in the sunshine, as well as a way to inspire hope, she said.

“The butterfly is a symbol of hope,” said Breedlove. “People have felt hopeless through this. Even before the quarantine was off people would come out and they would get out of the car and wander and you could see them relax and just enjoy. It’s amazing.”

In the midst of the rich, plant filled scenery at the nursery sat the main attraction of the event: the butterfly tent.

Tony Delia, owner of the tent and the monarch butterflies that fluttered within it has come to feature his monarch’s on several occasions at the nursery as well as around Texas and other parts of the country.

When onlookers entered the tent, they were welcomed to hold out green straws garnished with juicy pink watermelon, which the butterflies landed on and indulged in.

“They like the sugar water in the watermelon. Butterflies don’t only eat nectar from flowers. They eat fruit and sometimes eat rotting dung and carcasses,” said Delia.

He went on to explain that the monarch’s are a hardy breed of butterfly, and that they lay their eggs in milkweed plants.

Breedlove explained that she didn’t expect the people attending to buy anything, she just wanted to give them a way to enjoy getting out of the house.

“People love flowers and butterflies,” she said.