Bringing the community together

Buttonwood Nature Center, home of The Institute provides free family-friendly community events throughout the year. From the Annual Kite Fly and Earth Celebration Day & Festival of Art in spring, Youth Festival in May, summer outdoor theatrical productions, a sizzling Jazz Fest in August, and the Winter Solstice Celebration in December, there are exciting family activities happening month to month. Most take place outdoors.

Check out these family-friendly, fun events!

Annual Kite Fly 2024

Saturday, April 13 • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Underwriting support provided by Buchanan Auto Park

Free kite flying (all ages) with expert flying help from our Kite Masters—brothers Sam and George Adams—in the field adjacent to Hooverville Elementary School in Waynesboro. Bring your own kite. Build a Kite workshop is scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., all welcome; $1 materials donation.

Watch this amazing video by local photographer, videographer, and video editor, Andrew Gehman, created during the 2013 Fun Fly. Watch the video here.

Earth Celebration Day 2024

Saturday, April 27 • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Underwriting support in 2023 provided by Lucinda D. Potter, CPA. 

Buttonwood, home of The Institute celebrates spring with environmental exhibits, music, student clothesline display, and food stand. Free admission. Event will take place outdoors at Pine Hill Recreation Area near Waynesboro, Pa.
Please come prepared for an outdoor day, (light) rain or shine. Subject to cancellation in the event of heavy rain. Check our Earth Day calendar page for fliers and exhibitor lists when posted.

Watch a video of the 2013 event, created by Andrew Gehman.

Youth Festival—Our 34th

Let’s Play Outside!

Sunday, May 19, 2024 • 1 to 5:30 p.m. at Pine Hill Recreation Area

Underwriting support by Patriot Federal Credit Union

This fun event is an opportunity for families to enjoy being outdoors together. The day features giveaways, activities, exhibits and demonstrations from local organizations that are family and youth-centric. Each year a special guest performer entertains the crowd—highlighting music, theater, puppetry, magic or stunts—always exciting and fun!
Admission is FREE!
 [Rain site Waynesboro Area Middle School]

Check out the details on our 2024 Event Page.

Check out this cool video from 2013, created for the institute by Andrew Gehman. Plus, visit our Flickr page to see great photos from 2015!

Paul Bollenback (guitar), Alexander Claffy (bass), Byron Landham (drums) and Benny Benack III (trumpet, vocals) perform during Jazz Fest 2021.

33rd Annual Jazz Festival in 2024

Sunday, August 25 • 5 to 7 p.m. (to be confirmed)
At The Wharf in Waynesboro (location to be confirmed)

Underwriting support in 2023 was from lead sponsor, Rent In Waynesboro, and from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Further sponsors include Hamilton Family Foundation on behalf of Hamilton Nissan; Beverly McFarland, in memory of Tom McFarland; Franklin County Visitors Bureau; and Andrew and Sally Sussman; and Franklin County Visitors Bureau. Facility support provided courtesy of Jeff and Nancy Mace.

Buttonwood Nature Center, home of The Institute, presents its annual jazz festival spotlighting top professional musicians with stellar performing artists that light up the outdoor stage with hot summer jazz.

The concert is followed by an informal question and answer period. Free and open to the public. [Rain site: Waynesboro Area High School auditorium].

Winter Solstice Celebration

Saturday, December 21, 2024 • 1 to 5:30 p.m. at Red Run Park (date & time to be confirmed)

Underwriting support provided by Steel Warehouse.

Buttonwood Nature Center, home of The Institute, presents an annual Winter Solstice Celebration, first launched in 2020. Marking the longest night—or shortest day—of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Since ancient times, people all over the world have recognized this important astronomical occurrence and celebrated the “return of the sun” in a variety of ways. After the solstice, the days get gradually longer.
Join this family-friendly celebration of the season with entertainment, storytelling, hands-on solstice activities for children including making garlands of popcorn and berries and edible ornaments for animals, live music, fire-pit warming stations, and hot chocolate stations.
Weather permitting, members of the Tri-State Astronomers club will be on hand with telescopes to observe the winter skies. Vendors and specific details are to be announced. The entire event is outdoors, so dress accordingly.

Gathering around the warming station bonfire during the Winter Solstice Celebration.