Chilliwack Sunflower Festival: six things to know before you go

There's plenty of room and time for everyone to get that perfect sunflower selfie

There’s something magical about walking through giant sunflower fields.

The bright yellow blooming flowers simply make you feel happy.

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We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the grounds of the inaugural Chilliwack Sunflower Festival, which kicks off on Wednesday next week.

The brand-new annual event - hosted by the same creators of the popular Tulips of the Valley - showcases more than five acres of flowers in the great outdoors of the Fraser Valley.

While we walked around there were still many flowers yet to bloom, but it was easy to imagine the sea of yellow that would soon arrive.

There’s going to be a lot to see. The fields have over 90,000 sunflowers.

There’s 17 varieties of flowers on the grounds – from two-foot Dwarf Sunspots to 12-foot Mammoth Grey Stripes, in varying shades of yellow, orange, and red.

A garden which is predicted to bloom any day now will showcase most of the different varieties.

While we know you are already excited about taking that perfect selfie or picture amongst the flowers – there are some rules to remember while you explore.

After all … we don’t want a repeat of what happened to the sunflower fields at Bogle Seeds farm in Ontario. The farmers shut their crops to guests forever after thousands of people invaded the property and destroyed the fields in search of a one-of-a-kind photo. True story.

Rule 1: Be respectful

While walking through the green fields, festival co-founder Kate Onos-Gilbert said the main rule was to respect the flowers.

“Once people are on the field I hope they’re respectful and I expect them to be respectful but you’re going to get the few people who push the boundaries,” she said.

“We’re not harvesting this crop, so damage isn’t hurting me, per se, but it is hurting everyone else who comes to visit.

“I’m encouraging people to be respectful, so everyone can have the same enjoyment of the fields.”

She said last year they did experience some of the “selfie people” jumping fences to try and get pictures with the tulips.

“We have our fields off the highway," Onos-Gilbert said.

"So, we don’t have to worry so much about people coming on to the property – but they do, it is human nature, I wish it wasn’t, but people do that.

“They just want that perfect selfie.”

The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival opens on August 22.
The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival opens on August 22. - Elisia Seeber

Rule 2: Although tempting, don’t climb the giant flowers

“Climbing the giant sunflowers… we don’t want that because their root structure is so small that they’re going to go boom, (and fall) right over,” Onos-Gilbert said.

“The wind even pushes them over.”

She said walking by the mammoth sunflowers was like “being in a forest.”

Rule 3: Stick to the pathways

Onos-Gilbert said you would see everything you wanted from the designated pathways.

“Because of the amount of space we have I don’t anticipate there being issues,” she said.

“We’ve been doing it for 13 years, so I know the mentality of people and what they want to see and what they enjoy.

“There are so many pathways that you are going to get your photo op no matter where you go.

“There should be lots of space for everyone to be here without feeling congested.”

The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival
The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival opens on August 22. - Elisia Seeber

Rule 4: Don’t take flowers from the fields

There’s no need to hurt the fields – there’s a designated U-Pick area.

You can pick your own Sunrich Orange sunflowers to take home there – but you must pay for them.  There’s also cut flowers, sunflower-inspired gifts, and on-site-grown tulip and daffodil bulbs available to buy.

Rule 5: Don’t let your dog near the hops crop

There’s 20 acres of hops on the property, grown for craft breweries. The festival is dog friendly – but dogs are allergic to hops, so keep your pooch away from that area if you decide to bring them along.

Rule 6: Enjoy yourself

Enjoy the break from city life.

“I’m hoping people will just be able to enjoy relaxing in the outdoors, amongst nature and farmland,” Onos-Gilbert.

“Really experience what is like in the Fraser Valley – amongst the garden, a huge garden at that.”

Throughout the grounds you’ll find swing sets, an operational windmill, a vintage bicycle, and several other perfect photo ops and selfie spots.

Plus, weekends include the added attraction of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack Fraser train, which offers by-donation rides through the fields. 

Tip:If you see a little wooden fairy houses along the path there’s a secret garden for the kids to enjoy!

Guests can also look forward to lawn games including Yardzee, bolaball, “giant” Jenga, tic-tac-toe, checkers, and more.

Plus there’ll be plenty of food. Enjoy cold drinks and ice cream in a special covered area and Local food trucks that will be on site each weekend.

The festival runs every day from August 22 through to September 16 at L41310 Yale Road.

Visit chilliwacksunflowerfest.com for more information, directions and tickets.

 

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