CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — In previous years, Clearview Farm’s Sunflower Festival gathered many people for a good time. This year’s event asked people to have fun and give back to those in need.
Clearview Farms partnered with Hickory Point Bank to bring Eastern Illinois Food Bank to their third annual festival. Farm Manager Sophia Hortin said they’re using the event as an opportunity to expand community engagement.
“What we’re asking folks to do here today is to come out, enjoy the sunflowers, enjoy some good food, some live music and also give back with a donation to Eastern Illinois Food Bank,” Hortin said.
Hortin said any and all donations are welcome since the event never requires tickets or admission fees.
“Every year, our sunflower field brings joy to people throughout the community, and this is a way for us to expand that impact,” Hortin said.
Eastern Illinois Food Bank President and CEO Kelly Daly said the partnership will help the growing issue of food scarcity across 18 counties.
“The need that we’re seeing is going up,” Daly said. “So, the food and funds raised here today will help put food on their plates today, tomorrow and over the next few weeks, for sure.”
The event brought out many families and children. Champaign’s Davonna Henderson said summertime is a great chance to explore the 14-acre flower field.
“Last year, when we were driving down Olympian Drive, they had a big, huge farm of sunflowers and we never came,” Henderson said. “I always wanted to just stand in it, look at all the different sunflowers. And this year, I saw this event and I was like, ‘This would be the perfect event to go to.'”
Henderson also used it as an opportunity to learn more about sunflowers.
“We’re growing mammoth sunflowers at home,” Henderson said. “Our tallest sunflower right now is about 6′ 1″ and hasn’t grown a head yet. So, we figured we come out here, get a little bit more information on when they’re going to bloom.”
The Eastern Illinois Foodbank isn’t looking to reach a certain goal in donations, but they are thankful for anyone who gives back to the community.