Firefly Party in New Harmony Celebrates Indiana’s New State Insect!

*Post written by Meagan Patterson, collections assistant for New Harmony Historic Site, (812) 682-3702 or

Check out New Harmony’s Cool Historic Ties to Fireflies

Logo of Say's Firefly: Indiana's Official State Insect, 2018.

Logo of Say’s Firefly: Indiana’s Official State Insect, 2018.

New Harmony, Ind.—Say’s Firefly Party is a town-wide celebration honoring Indiana’s official state insect and the New Harmony entomologist it was named for, Thomas Say. The public is invited to celebrate in New Harmony, Monday, July 2, 2018 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. Festivities begin at Thrall’s Opera House (612 Church St.).

Thomas Say, considered the Father of North American Entomology, moved to New Harmony in 1826. Among the various projects Say worked on here, he named approximately 1,500 insects including Say’s Firefly (pyractomena angulate), an Indiana native species.

The firefly celebration in New Harmony caps off a four-year mission to finally give Indiana its own official state insect. That successful mission was led, in great part, by a group of seven-year-old Hoosiers.

In 2014, West Lafayette teacher Maggie Samudio was asked by her 2nd-grade students at Cumberland Elementary why Indiana was one of three states with no state insect. That discussion sparked a serious mission among those students, with leadership from second-grade student Kayla Xu, to help give Indiana an official state insect.

Governor Eric Holcomb (center) at Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette, Indiana to present Indiana's state insect, 2018.

Governor Eric Holcomb (center) at Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette, Indiana to present Indiana’s state insect, 2018.

Over the four-year letter-writing project, students collected 768 petition signatures and generated more than 800 letters of support, which helped motivate the introduction of six bills in the Indiana General Assembly. The West Lafayette second-grade class finally achieved their goal March 23, 2018, when Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill designating Say’s Firefly as Indiana’s Official State Insect. The law goes into effect July 1. Say’s Firefly Party in New Harmony, July 2, will celebrate the occasion and honor Thomas Say where he lived and worked.

The party begins at 5:00 p.m. at Thrall’s Opera House with firefly-themed snacks, merchandise, crafts, and complimentary firefly-catching kits. From there, firefly fans can get decked out in glow accessories before they venture out on foot or catch a golf cart shuttle to other locations in town.


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Sara’s Harmony Way will offer a firefly-themed craft beer. Pick up your official firefly cup at the Opera House for 10% off your firefly-themed beer. Party-goers can also participate in kite flying around town or stay at the Opera House for a glow yoga session hosted by Patty Beagle at 5:30 p.m. (bring your own mat).

As the sun sets, everyone is invited to check out favorite firefly viewing spots around town.

This event is free to the public (craft beer available for a charge for patrons over 21). All ages are welcome, and the party will happen rain or shine.

For more information call 812.682.3702 or visit

This entry was posted in animals, Entomology, New Harmony. Bookmark the permalink.

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