Thursday, April 18, 2024

Franklin to Celebrate 2nd Annual Ladybug Trail Spring Walk April 20th




Franklin to Celebrate 2nd Annual Ladybug Trail Spring Walk April 20th



Come to Downtown Franklin on Saturday, April 20th when the town kicks off its  2nd Annual Ladybug Trail Spring Walk. The town will also celebrate 50 years of the ladybug as the State’s official insect.


Walk the Ladybug Cultural and Historical Trail any time throughout the day and explore downtown Franklin. Rain date is Sun. April 21st. Best place to start: 9 a.m. at Franklin Historical Museum at 80 West Central Street (Route 140) to get your free trail map. While you’re at the museum, and before you walk, stay for the ladybug presentation and activities.


At 11 a.m. State Rep. Jeff Roy will speak about ladybugs and lawmaking. From 11:30 to 1 a reunion of the 1974 “Ladybug Kids,” the second-graders who went to Boston and successfully lobbied the legislature.

Ladybug keychains and bookmarks will be sold at the museum. Other activities include a short slide show detailing the ladybug story, and live native ladybugs will be released around 3 p.m. in the garden of the Methodist Church, next door.


Why celebrate the 7-spotted ladybug?


This year marks the 50th anniversary since the ladybug was adopted as the official insect of Massachusetts. And, the town of Franklin is where it started.


How did this happen? In 1974, a group of second-grade students and their teacher, Palma Johnson, at Franklin’s Kennedy School, petitioned a bill to name the ladybug the state’s official insect. The students learned about the law-making process in class and at the State House. In April 1974 then-governor Francis Sargent signed the bill making the ladybug the official state insect of Mass.


The town celebrated this special designation with its Ladybug project on the 40th anniversary of the accomplishment. The Franklin Cultural Council and the Rotary Club initiated the public art project to honor Mrs. Johnson, her students, and the ladybug. The project invited artists and businesses to create and paint 2-foot tall fiberglass ladybugs.


By 2022 the ladybug sculptures were installed throughout downtown Franklin’s Cultural District – when it officially became known as the Ladybug Cultural and Historical Trail.


The trail uses the ladybug sculptures to tie together approximately 25 historical, cultural and business sites in downtown. Plus the walk is an opportunity to view more than 10 art murals painted by members of the Franklin Art Association located in the alleys and the daffodils that pop up along the trail in spring. 


"The fact that this year is the 50th anniversary of a Franklin educator and her students making history with their ladybug legislation makes this year's walk extra special. We are happy to be the starting point for the walk, and for families picking up a map," said Alan Earls, chair of the Franklin Historical Commission. "We are keeping longer hours, too, from 9 to 3, and hope families and individuals will stop in," he added. For more details, visit the Historical Museum website at



Enjoy the shops along the trail


People can walk the Ladybug Trail any time during the day. “The Ladybug Trail Spring Walk is the chance to celebrate spring and walk around downtown Franklin in search of the ladybugs tucked among the storefronts. We invite walkers and visitors to stop at one of the many restaurants along the trail for lunch or dinner,” said Lisa Piana, Franklin Downtown Partnership’s Executive Director.


The free trail map is also available at Escape Into Fiction where kids can get a ladybug surprise. Escape Into Fiction is an independent bookstore at 12 Main Street. They are open Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 4 p.m. The regular hours include Tuesdays through Fridays 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Historical Museum regular hours are Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


The Ladybug Cultural and Historical Trail committee includes: Pandora Carlucci, Jane Curran, Claire Griffin, Melanie Hamblen, Eileen Mason, Mary Olsson, Lisa Piana, Beth Simon, and Roberta Trahan.


The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a non-profit 501c3 organization made up of more than 350 business owners, residents, and community leaders working to revitalize downtown Franklin. Residents can join the Downtown Partnership for only $25. The Partnership manages events like the Strawberry Stroll, the Harvest Festival, the Ladybug Historical & Cultural Trail, and initiatives such as beautification, streetscape design, greenspace, alley murals, and sculpture projects. For more information go to