Ladybugs, barbecue, games, music and fun are planned at two April events in Las Sendas, an east Mesa subdivision.
To help welcome spring, a ladybug release for kids is scheduled for Tuesday, April 18.
This marks the ninth year for the release, which is always staged around Earth Day, April 22, according to Las Sendas Community Organization Activities Director Kristha Lima.
“It started as a fun way to incorporate ladybugs as a natural way to help gardens” in the housing development, she said.
It’s become “super fun” for kids, Lima said.
The event will be from 3 to 5 p.m. The cost is $3 per child. While it’s marketed to Las Sendas residents, guests are welcome, she said.
Activities begin in the Trailhead Clubhouse, 7900 E. Eagle Crest Drive. Four craft stations are set up for kids, all somehow related to ladybugs.
Kids then head outside to listen to a story about ladybugs. They parade from the clubhouse to Trailhead Park, next door.
At the park, 250,000 ladybugs are awaiting their release. Stations are set up and the pint boxes containing the tiny bugs are opened. Children get to stick their arms and hands near the bugs and wait for the critters to fly up, land and crawl around on them.
“Some of the kids just get totally covered,” Lima said.
Children walk around waiting for the bugs to fly off and find new homes.
Kids may dress up as ladybugs or any sort of costume if they choose, Lima said.
In previous years, children have brought nets or bug catchers to try to capture fleeing ladybugs.
Another big festival in Las Sendas, Neighborfest, is set for Sunday, April 30. The 3 to 7 p.m. event features three bands, a barbecue dinner and all sorts of games. The meal costs $5 a person, but everything else is free.
Lima said Neighborfest began in 2012 as the “brainchild of our community manager, Doug Austin. He wanted to throw a party for the community where people could eat barbecue and have fun.”
A 25-foot zip line will be set up, Lima said, along with a rock wall, a three-man bungee jump, bounce houses and face-painting booths.
She expects around 500 people to attend. Again, while geared to residents, friends and guests are welcome, she said.
Neighborfest activities take place at Trailhead Park and the clubhouse.
– Shelley Ridenour is a freelance reporter for MyNewsMesa.com.