The BC farming family who pioneered the beloved Chilliwack Sunflower Festival and Chilliwack Tulip Festival is moving the festivals to a new location in Agassiz, near Harrison Hot Springs. The new Harrison Sunflower Festival is tentatively slated to open on August 22 this year (the exact opening date is dependent on bloom stage; follow @harrisonsunflowerfest for updates). The Harrison Sunflower Festival replaces the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival, founded and successfully run for the last five years by the Onos family.
The new Agassiz family farm boasts majestic Mount Cheam as a magnificent natural backdrop to acres of sunny flowers, plus other picturesque seasonal crops. The Harrison Sunflower Festival will run for approximately four weeks. Then, just in time for autumn celebrations, it will turn into a pumpkin patch, ripe for the Halloween picking.
Transplanting the Harrison Sunflower Festival represents a homecoming for founder Kate Onos-Gilbert and her family. The family pioneered agritourism in the Fraser Valley, shining light on the area’s integral role in BC agriculture. In 2006, they debuted Tulips of the Valley in Agassiz, the first flower festival of its kind in BC. After 10 highly successful years there, they shifted it to Chilliwack, where the Chilliwack Tulip Festival first bloomed in 2017 and the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival sprouted up in 2018. Countless BC families have created cherished memories at these annual outdoor celebrations.
“My family and I are thrilled to have acquired our own piece of land to host the new festivals and explore other agritourism opportunities, all while returning to our roots where the flower magic first bloomed,” says Onos-Gilbert. “We can’t wait to welcome flower enthusiasts to this stunning new location.”
Attendees can expect to photo-bomb their social-media feeds while exploring three kilometres of pathways through 20 acres of beautiful backdrops, including 45 varieties of sunflowers, other summer flowers, and a large field of barley. Other photo opportunities to capture include several swing sets, antique tractors and horse carts, vintage bicycles, a 1950’s convertible, a 1965 Airstream trailer, and raised platforms that make it easy to stage your own family or group portrait.
Plus, a u-pick field with five varieties of sunflowers will be open, so guests can curate their own colourful bouquets to take home. The field-side Farm Store will also offer fresh-cut sunflowers, sunflower seeds, home grown bulbs (tulips and daffodils), souvenirs, ice cream, snacks, cold drinks and local garlic for sale. In addition, a local food truck will be on site daily.
Anticipate getting a savoury slice of farm life this fall, once the sunflowers have finished for the season. A tentative opening date of September 29 has been set for a new autumn attraction at the farm — the Harrison Pumpkin Festival. Stay tuned for exciting details about this coming attraction.