• 59°

Third-annual Sunflower Festival returns to Chocowinity this weekend

CHOCOWINITY — Each year, bright yellow blooms cover acres upon acres of fields at Raised in a Barn Farm in Chocowinity. On Saturday and Sunday, the public is invited to enjoy the beauty of this natural bounty as Raised in a Barn and PC Sound host the third-annual N.C. Sunflower Festival.

With a wide variety of vendors on site, the festival will plenty to choose from in terms of food, crafts and gifts. A beer and wine garden will keep thirsts quenched throughout the weekend, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the ALS Foundation.

Sunflowers will be available for purchase by the armful at $10 per person, providing a wealth of photo opportunities for lovers of the bright yellow flowers. Part of the proceeds from that sale will benefit local non-profit Riley’s Army.

“We planted three different crops of sunflowers, and our first crop is in full bloom,” Raised in a Barn owner Mandie Boahn said. “The second crop is ready to pop at any moment, and the third crop will probably bloom in the next week or two, so that prolongs our growing season for the year.”

Other fun activities include a blow-up obstacle course and slide for the kids, as well as pony rides and hay ride tours of the farm.

Of course, no trip to the farm would be complete without a visit from some barnyard animals. From 4 to 6 p.m., local 4-H students will show off their prized chickens and bunnies in a special show at the side stage. The farm hosts a club of nearly 100 students from throughout Beaufort County.

The fun doesn’t stop on Saturday afternoon. That evening, three bands will take center stage during the Party in the Pasture. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with Brandon Snow taking the stage at 7 p.m. The Caps hit the stage at 8 and Eli Craig Band will conclude the evening with a show from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Admission to the Saturday night concert is $7 per person.

“There’s just something to do for the whole family,” Boahn said. “We really hope everybody comes out and enjoys the event with us.”

In addition to the headliners at Saturday’s concert, a number of local and regional talents will be featured throughout the festival. Performers include Angelus, Ainsley Short, Holden Dixon, Brian Burke, Stuart Herring and Mountain Blue and Eastern Sky. Sunday morning will feature morning worship at the main festival stage, conducted by Harvest Church, beginning at 10 a.m.

Admission to the N.C. Sunflower Festival is free, with the only charge being a $5 fee for parking. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more details on the N.C. Sunflower Festival, visit www.ncsunflowerfestival.com.