Hundreds watch butterflies, take in beauty of South Side Garden fest

More than 100 butterflies landed as part of the South Side Community Garden's annual festival Saturday

More than 100 butterflies landed as part of the South Side Community Garden's annual festival Saturday. It's a labor of love that draws hundreds of people every year. 

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – More than 100 butterflies landed as part of the South Side Community Garden’s annual festival Saturday. It’s a labor of love that draws hundreds of people every year.

Where many people saw empty land, one woman saw a vision — both of what the neighborhood used to be and what it could be again.

“God told me to put a garden on my mother’s land,” said Lois Martin-Uscianowski of South Side Community Garden. “I grew up in this neighborhood. I actually grew up on the site right here where the pavilion is. So, I put a garden here.”

Just a few blocks down, the Army National Guard spent the week tearing down houses and removing blight. But at the Garden, it’s sunny and happy.

Every week, pre-schoolers learn gardening. Once a month, there’s cooking classes. And volunteers take garden-grown food to the charity Cafe Augustine.

One day every summer, hundreds of butterflies arrive to give inner city kids a free chance to get an up close look at nature they many not see otherwise.

“There’s monarchs, there’s buckeyes, painted ladies and there’s one red-spotted purple that somehow got in,” Martin-Uscianowski said.

The Mercers were among 400 people who visited the butterflies Saturday.

“This is a very nice neighborhood,” Lisa Mercer said. “My grandfather lived here up until his death, we have family in the area — never any problems. Just a good place to come and enjoy the day, enjoy the time.”