The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has awarded more than $2.7 million for 259 local and regional tourism marketing programs across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.
Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers, LLC in Buchanan received a $20,000 grant for its September 2022 Sunflower Festival and Vendor Show. Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers leveraged $20,000 in matching funds, showcasing over 105 vendors in the largest sunflower festival and vendor show on the East Coast.
The Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Festival helps to diversify the family farm income. In 2015, 20 acres of black oil sunflowers were planted on the farm. As a result of the beautiful scenery, the following year, Sunflower Festival founder Candace Monaghan proposed opening the fields for visitors to walk through and adore, and the festival has expanded each year since.
“Today, the festival has widely expanded and our weekend activities consist of hay wagon rides, a farm animal petting area, over 105 unique handmade craft and food vendors, photo booths and live music,” Monaghan said. “During the weekdays, we offer three field trip opportunities for preschoolers, senior citizens and special needs kids and adults. We also have our ever-popular catered sunset dinners in the sunflowers and goat yoga. There is something to do for every age!
“Once the festival is over, the crowds have diminished and the sunflowers have all dropped their heads, the farm will harvest the seed and bag it into black oil sunflower birdseed,” Monaghan continued. “Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Seeds can be found in Northwest Hardware locations, Ikenberry Orchards in Daleville and The Best Place Antique Store in Buchanan. We also have our seed packets so customers can plant their own seeds in their gardens.”
For the September 2022 festival, the new advertising dollars will be spent to pull in traffic from targeted areas outside of the local reach. Targeted ads and social media will reach Charlottesville, Richmond, Winchester, Fairfax and surrounding areas. Reaching crowds outside of the market will help to bring in more revenue to the community through gas expenses, overnight stays and meals. Surrounding local shops also benefit from the added foot traffic.
“Botetourt County has long been known for its agriculture and now is also becoming a tourist destination. Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers is a true example of agri-tourism at its best! We are so proud of the dedicated work that Candace and her family have done with the annual Sunflower Festival and we are thrilled that she is being recognized at the state level with a Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant to help grow the event,” said Botetourt County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Richard Bailey. “Candace is a leader in our community and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the festival and for her family farm.”
“The Sunflower Festival exemplifies the region’s agri-tourism, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year to Botetourt County and Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Adding new marketing dollars into promoting the 2022 festival will undoubtedly enhance visibility, increase attendance and economic impact,” said Landon Howard, president of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.