Sunflower Festival returns rain or shine this year

Published 5:52 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Acres of sunflowers are beginning to bloom in preparation for this weekend’s celebration.

The North Carolina Sunflower Festival is returning for a second year at Raised in a Barn Farm, and after last year’s Tropical Storm Hermine shut down the festival, this one feels like the inaugural.

“After a severe tropical storm hit us head-on and devastated our sunflower crop last season, we are more determined than ever to not only survive, but thrive, with a much larger music festival for all of eastern N.C. to enjoy,” farm owner Jane Boahn said.

The festival kicks off Friday at noon with amusement rides and more than 100 vendors from across the state, as well as a beer and wine garden, the proceeds of which will benefit Fight Against ALS, according to Boahn.

Friday’s festivities will also feature a lineup of live music, including Don Cox, Justin Castellano, Mac & Juice Quartet and Chapel Hill-based Liquid Pleasure Band.

Rides and vendors will still be on hand Saturday, and yet another stream of musicians are set to perform that evening. “Party in the Pasture” kicks off at 5 p.m., courtesy of PC Sound, featuring bluegrass and country musicians, including Taylor Wagner, Martin County Ramblers, Seaborn, Doug Flowers Bluegrass Band, Mikele Buck Band and Bryan Mayer at 8 p.m., Boahn said.

“The festival will be held rain or shine, with some outside covered areas and barn available. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and ponchos to enjoy the ‘Party in the Pasture,’” she said.

Visitors may also pre-purchase the festival’s namesake by the bouquet for $10 each. Boahn said half of the proceeds from sunflower sales will go toward Riley’s Army, an organization that supports children with cancer and their families. Once the sunflowers are fully blooming over the next couple of weeks, those interested can have them delivered or stop by the farm to pick their own, Boahn added.

The Sunflower Festival will come to a close Sunday, with worship from 10-11 a.m. and a lineup of gospel music from Riversong Trio, Jawanda Waters Gospel, Eastern Sky and Jonny Diaz, according to Boahn.

“We hope to start a great musical tradition for eastern North Carolina, which will greatly impact the area, bringing guests from all across the state and out of state for years to come, enhancing the revenues of many local businesses,” Boahn said.

She said the festival’s organizers are grateful for the community’s support and the sponsors involved.

“We doubled the amount of sunflowers we planted and hope to sell high volumes over the next several weeks, dry them for seeds and decorations, and completely utilize the value of our crop,” Boahn said. “Our stage is covered for rain or shine, and the show will go on. We farm on faith, and like the sunflowers, we will stand strong.”

Tickets purchased online are $15 per day, plus a $5 parking fee, or $25 for a weekend pass. Children 6 years old and under get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the door, but prices run higher.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit or Raised in a Barn Farm is located at 2106 N.C. Highway 33 East, Chocowinity.