Flower power in Tonganoxie: Sunflower Stroll rolls into town this week
There are some rainy days in this week’s forecast, but organizers of this year’s Tonganoxie Sunflower Stroll are hoping the clouds won’t keep away visitors to the area celebrating the return of Grinter Farms sunflowers between Tonganoxie and Lawrence just off U.S. Highway 24-40.
The extremely dry summer has led to some strange growing patterns for area sunflowers. Ted and Kris Grinter have welcomed visitors to their famous sunflower field for years and again will do so this year, but the field will bloom in sections, with the first blooms expected this weekend.
No matter what day during the holiday weekend visitors want to check out the sunflowers, a variety of sunflower-themed activities will be taking place in downtown Tonganoxie.
Festivities start Friday with artist competitions.
Registration for artists actually is a day earlier, 7-9 a.m. at Heartland Artworks, 17787 State Ave., about 5 miles east of Tonganoxie. Registration also will be 7-9 a.m. Friday and Saturday at Myers Hotel.
And a meet-the-artists reception will be 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Myers Hotel Bar
For running enthusiasts, the Sunflower 4-Mile and 1-Mile Runs start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in the downtown area. Money from the event will go toward various local charities.
At 10 a.m., there is free Sunflower Yoga at Ryan’s Public House, and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., craft vendors at Fourth and Bury streets in the former Ratliff Drugstore and the Be New Youth Center Fourth and Main streets.
At noon, judges will determine winners of the children’s sunflower growing competition at the pocket park near Fourth and Delaware streets.
And then from 2-4 p.m., there will be painting classes at the Tonganoxie Public Library, Third and Bury Streets.
From 7-9 p.m. Saturday in the downtown First State Bank and Trust parking lot, visitors can watch artists do their work. Visitors also are encouraged to see artwork, some of which will be for sale, Friday through Sunday at the Tongaoxie Community Historic Site barn, 201 W. Washington St.
On Sunday, vendors will return with crafts from noon to 4 p.m. at the same locations.
For those who passed on the Saturday run can participate at a different speed.
The 0.5K stroll starts at 5:30 p.m. in the downtown area. People are welcome to dress like sunflowers or regular clothes and bring their dogs along for the walk. The first 50 participants to complete the race will receive an “I survived the 0.5 K Sunflower Stroll.”
Artists will do a quick paint 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday in the downtown area and then at 6 p.m., a community wide free street dance gets started.
There will be live music, old-time games and food trucks.
Award presentations, an art show and sale will start at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Organizer Leigh Coffman encourages residents and visitors to town to check out the artists’ work throughout the weekend at various locations. Maps of designated art locations can be found downtown during Sunflower Stroll.
Festivities finish up on Labor Day, with vendors being available 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the same locations.
If anyone heading to Grinter Farms is looking for more photo opportunities, several storefronts throughout Tonganoxie are decorated with sunflower artwork, while downtown light poles are adorned with large sunflowers. In the downtown park, an interactive sunflower scene offers another photo opportunity. Youth activities and other art activities also are planned, including the painting of an outdoor mural at Fourth Street and U.S. Higwhay 24-40.
For more information about the Sunflower Stroll or Grinter Farms, check out their Facebook pages.