While a May heat wave cut the Bloom Tulip Festival two weeks short, the upcoming Sunflower Festival — the only one of its kind in the Thompson-Okanagan — is set for a spectacular season with doors opening to guests in late September.
“We wanted to give families a chance to enjoy the sunflowers in the fall, when the weather is just a little cooler for people and after the busyness of back to school,” says Alexis Szarek, founder of Bloom Flower Festivals, on shifting dates ahead a month from August, when the local festival has kicked off the last two years.
Bloom’s 2023 Sunflower Festival runs Sept. 21-Oct. 1 and tickets can now be booked to take in the breathtaking eight acres of sunflowers on the farm, just a five-minute drive north of Armstrong.
“It’s a pretty magical place to be,” says Szarek.
This week, she and her husband, Marc, are busy planting more than 200,000 sunflower seeds of nearly 20 varieties — from the golden yellow many know and love to those that take guests by surprise: dark, chocolate reds, dwarf whites and strawberry lemonade.
The 2023 Sunflower Festival also features new ways to enjoy the sublime setting and support the surrounding community. A Sunflowers and Cider event for 19+ ticket-holders will feature Farmstrong Cider and a charcuterie cup from Wedge Cheesery on Friday and Saturday nights; and a Residents Night Sept. 25 for those who live in the Township of Spallumcheen or the City of Armstrong to attend by bringing a food bank donation.
“We know how much everyone loves Farmstrong Cider, which is just down the road, so we thought this would be a fun and refreshing new way to enjoy the sunflowers at sunset,” says Szarek. “It’s just beautiful out there at that time.”
Special events that were a hit last year and continue are Monet Meets Merlot paint nights, locals night for residents of the wider North Okanagan, yoga in the sunflowers, Family Fridays, and weekday collaboration that includes a same-day voucher to visit Wild Oak Café.
This family and dog-friendly event also offers the chance to stay a while and play with activities such as yard Jenga, x-and-o tables, bean bag toss, mini putts and more in a covered area and picnic field.
Details and tickets now available at bloomflowerfestivals.com.