Sunflower festival is coming to the Fraser Valley

Celebrate summer with a picture-perfect moment at the first annual Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

From itty-bitty little ones to great big giant ones, on August 22, the Fraser Valley will be full of hundreds of thousands of bright, sunny faces staring up at the sky as the first annual Chilliwack Sunflower Festival kicks off.

With blossoms from 17 varieties of sunflowers planted across more than five acres of land, Kate Onos-Gilbert says she hopes the Festival becomes as popular as Tulips of the Valley (formerly the Tulip Festival), which she’s organized for more than a decade.

“This is our first time growing this many sunflowers … so it’s a learning curve for us,” Onos-Gilbert explained as she walked the grounds of the upcoming Festival.

“But our research showed it’s a popular flower in the area and it fits with our crop rotation … so we’re super excited (about the event).”

However, a similar event in Ontario this summer revealed a possible danger in having so many picturesque flowers readily available: the Bogle Seeds farm closed to the public after too many selfie-seekers began destroying their sunflower fields during their search for the perfect Instagram shot.

“We’ve got the perfect property, though,” said Onos-Gilbert. Surrounded by neighbouring farms and a slough, it’s unlikely Chilliwack’s Sunflower Festival will be hit by the same sort of “zombie apocalypse” experienced by the Bogle family.

“Stick to the marked pathways and everything will be fine,” she added.

An occupational therapist by trade, Onos-Gilbert got into the flower business in 1998 when she met her husband, whose family immigrated from Holland and started a tulip-focused greenhouse business in Rosedale. Then in 2006, she co-founded the first Tulip Festival, which ran for in Aggasiz for years before reopening just outside of Chilliwack as Tulips of the Valley in 2017.

With acres of towering sunflowers, visitors to the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival should be able to see flowers in all stages of flowering. Here, a Mammoth Grey Striped sunflower head is beginning to develop its seeds, which are usually harvested for consumption. (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

And now she’s trying her green thumb at sunflowers.

With a focus on day- and agricultural tourism, Onos-Gilbert says the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival will be a great place to spend an afternoon with the family, friends, or even with your four-legged companion as on-leash dogs are welcome.

“My family and I look forward to creating a new tradition with the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival. This is one of the best opportunities in the region to get up-close to nature and truly unwind for a while, whether with a group or on your own.”

With communities becoming more urban every day, often people don’t have the chance to get out and experience all the different opportunities provided by Mother Nature, which is where Onos-Gilbert says the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival comes in.

“The majority of our (Tulip Festival) visitors come from the city,” Onos-Gilbert explained. “They love being able to go out for a day and enjoy the (area) around them.”

Although they’re not fully in bloom yet, Onos-Gilbert says by Festival opening, the property will be aglow with sunflowers of all different colours and heights.

“Our show garden will have all different colours and blossom heads … and there will be all kinds of photo ops,” explained the Festival organizer as she was dwarfed by an 11-foot giant Mammoth Grey Striped sunflower.

“We’ll also have Dwarf Sunspots, which are only about two-feet high but have the same size head as the Mammoths.”

In addition to the just-for-looking sunflowers, Onos-Gilbert says the Festival also has a large you-pick sunflower garden, and there will also be about 20 acres of hops vines to stroll through, swing sets, lawn games, and on the weekends, the Rotary Club of Chilliwack’s train will offer by-donation rides through the fields.

Running every day from Aug. 22 to Sept. 16, The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival hours are as follows: Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to sunset, and Friday – Sunday from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

For directions, complete ticket pricing, and more information, please visit ChilliwackSunflowerFest.com.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

‘I’m elated’: Braun wins; incumbents returned en masse; Banman back

Henry Braun becomes first incumbent mayor of Abbotsford to win re-election since 1999

VOTING DAY: Abbotsford votes no-change school board, deals blow to anti-SOGI

All incumbents running and one former trustee voted in, few anti-SOGI candidates on board

SLIDESHOW: Election night in Abbotsford

Candidates gather at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium to watch the results

LIVE: Abbotsford municipal election reaction

Check back for the latest reaction as results come in from this evening’s municipal election

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Newly-elected Lower Mainland mayor won’t drink his city’s tap water

White Rock’s Darryl Walker is concerned about its quality

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Vancouver drag queens receive royal treatment during Kootenay Pride

Vancouver drag queens discuss the importance of Pride and growing acceptance of LGBTQ community

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read