Is it the hide-and-seek glowing of a firefly's bottom that beckons to children of all ages, or the mysterious fact it's glowing at all?
Few people can resist the charms of the little critters—which may explain why Duke Farms' first-ever Firefly Festival, set for 8 to 11 p.m. Friday (Saturday if it rains), has nearly 500 participants registered.
"I think that everyone has a favorite firefly memory," said Kathleen Salisbury, Duke Farms' Team Leader for Education.
That was part of the reason for the festival, which will celebrate the winged beetles with 20 activity stations across 1.5-miles of trails at Duke Farms offering fun activities, facts and information.
Visitors will learn such details as the fact that fireflies or lightning bugs are a benign visitor to the yard, which many find surprising.
"They eat slugs and snails and they don't eat plants at all," Salisbury said.
Another reason for the project is highlight the diminishing numbers of fireflies—some suspect light pollution caused by development is interfering with the bugs' lives; others blame suburban development.