The Dunwoody Nature Center’s annual Butterfly Festival is now considered a premier event by the city while the inaugural Rotary Club of Dunwoody’s Community BBQ set to take place in September is now a signature event.

The primary difference between the two: premier events receive free police security and traffic control while signature events pay the city for half the cost for police and traffic resources.

A scene from the 2013 Dunwoody Nature Center Butterfly Festival, where thousands of people flock each year to enter tents filled with butterflies flying around, with many landing on attendees. This year the fest received premier status from the city. (Dunwoody Nature Center)

The Butterfly Festival celebrates its 25th year on Aug. 11 and has become a popular event attracting more than 3,000 people with 200 volunteers, according to DNC Executive Director Alan Mothner.

“We’re not asking for money,” Mothner joked at the July 9 City Council meeting. But having to pay for police services is an additional expense for the nonprofit group and by being designated a premier event the Nature Center alleviates the cost of putting on the event.

Mothner said he would need two officers for six hours. Cost to the city is $600, he said.

There was more discussion about the Dunwoody Rotary Club seeking premier status for the first year of its event. The club also asked for a $10,000 donation for the event, however the city does not give cash to such events.

Premier events in the city, in addition to the Butterfly Festival, are the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade, Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays and Lemonade Days. All events have a long history in the city.

The Rotary Club of Dunwoody is partnering with the renowned Kansas City Barbecue Society to put on its inaugural Community BBQ event on Sept. 7-8 at Perimeter Mall. Rick Woods, president of the Rotary Club, said they expect to attract more than 8,000 people with plans to grow to 30,000 attendees over the next several years.

Woods said 60 professional teams from around the country are expected to compete at the weekend event as well as 20 amateur teams.

“We do not want to embarrass ourselves as a club and a city in our first year,” Woods said in making the request for premier status and a cash donation.

Communications Director Bob Mullen said he was not aware of the city granting premier status to a first-time event.

Woods said six police officers are needed for the Community BBQ.

“I love Rotary, but they have not proven themselves.” Councilmember John Heneghan said, noting that there is a barbecue event every year at Brook Run Park that does not have special status.

In a letter to the council, Woods also explained the event will be family-friendly with a kids play area plus big-screen TVs set up so attendees can watch college football. There will also be live entertainment.

A majority of the net funds raised will be spent on first responders and schools, he added.

In the end, the council voted to give the new Community BBQ event signature status. Other signature events in the city are the Dunwoody Art Festival, the Dunwoody Music Festival, Light Up Dunwoody, Apple Cider Days and the Haunted Farm House.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.