It’s hard enough to plant a crop, tend it through fickle weather and harvest at just the right time to maximize the produce.
Accomplishing all of that on the exact weekend you’ve invited more than 50,000 people from across the country to come to a festival you’re hosting is nearly impossible.
But, the Bergsbakens have managed to pull it off for seven straight years. Some seasons are a little more stressful than others in the days leading up to the big weekend.
“Oh, I went out and talked to them,” Lee Bergsbaken said. “I had to yell at them a little this year.”
He’s talking about the sunflowers, which lagged a little early on this season but, with some sunshine and salty coaxing, they ended up looking spectacular. In fact, they made the perfect backdrop for the most family-friendly festival around. Everywhere you looked throughout the weekend (and we were lucky enough to go twice), little kids happily scooped up corn kernels in pits designed for easy play, people dressed in sunflower clothing posed in one of the cool scenic vistas the Bergsbakens arranged, generations of folk loaded up wagons for a hayride through the flowers and live music kept everyone’s toes tapping.
And the Bergsbakens haven’t raised their prices since they first started inviting the public back in 2015. They only ask for a $2 donation at the entrance and then you’re free to roam the acres, play in the bounce houses, bury yourself in the corn pit and enjoy the hay ride. Food is available for a reasonable price and you can pick your own sunflowers in a designated area for a nominal fee.
You can also purchase sunflower T-shirts (though those were going fast), sunflower oil and other products, but the main focus of the festival continues to be the cheeriest flowers in all the land.
If you missed it this year, don’t despair. You can still enjoy a roadside view of the flowers for the next week or so and you can buy corn and sunflower oil from the Bergsbakens year-round.
But, for some good old fashioned family fun, mark your calendars for next year’s festival and treat yourself to the the summer magic wrought by the sunflower whisperer.