One Very Rainy Weekend

 About a three weeks ago, we hosted one of our rainiest events here at the farm ever and do you know what, we had a wonderful time! Our annual Sunflower Festival was held September 23 & 24. This event is our largest event visited by thousands of people each year from all over. There are food trucks, artisan vendors, trolley rides around the farm, live music, classes and FREE sunflowers! We had been watching the weather hoping and praying that it was wrong, that it would pass over and that we would have a beautiful Fall weekend with the sun shining but still a little nip in the air. This was not to be our fate, as the week went on, the percentages of rain kept going up and the temperatures down.


We had been fielding phone calls from customers and vendors wanting to know our plans and were we still holding it. Every time we would comment it is being held rain or shine, still being totally optimistic everything would work out. But reality set in on Thursday morning at 8:00am when we met to figure out what we were going to do. We decided right away that the scarecrow making class would move into our main building and we contacted our tent company to bring enough sides to completely surround the Oops tent since we knew the tent would remain dry underneath as long as the rain could not blow in. That left the vendors, music, and food trucks. We threw around a bunch of different ideas and that is when a suggestion was made that at first, we were not sure we could pull off.

The suggestion meant moving hundreds of boxes and heavy gourd bins around to make open spaces in our storage and shipping buildings for the vendors and some picnic tables to sit and eat at. This was not a small task to be accomplished and we were not even sure we could fit everyone, so we took a break, did some measuring, figured out if we had enough time and space to do what we wanted and decided to get back together at 11:30am. As we got back together, we discovered that we could make enough space and the plan was on. Food trucks would be moved to right outside the buildings where the vendors were being relocated and music would be placed under tents for all to hear. Our entire plan had just been totally rearranged and we had a day and a half to get it done.

Our crew started immediately, getting everything moved, sweeping the floors, cleaning, labeling the floor for vendors, figuring who was going in which building, which food truck was going where, setting up tables, posting on Facebook about the changes, and emailing everyone who needed to know about relocations. We were met with lots of thank yous, I cannot believe you are doing this, we cannot wait to come, and can we still pick sunflowers? At 4:00pm, we were ready for our first vendors to arrive and start setting up.

Rainy sunflower festival day at Meadowbrooke Gourds
The rain came on Saturday morning but so did the people. We were absolutely blown away by the number of people who got our messages and posts, shared them, and showed up to shop. Our buildings were full, our tables were used, the sunflowers were still picked even in the rain and mud, and we were dry! To say we were incredibly thankful for such great customers, new and old, who came to support this event is an understatement. We realized we had made the best decision and were told many times over the weekend what a wonderful time they were having. This is why we do what we do!

Shopping crafts at Sunflower Festival

Many people wanted to know what our buildings normally looked when not filled with art, crafts, and picnic tables so I wanted to include a few pictures. After looking at them, I am sure you will agree that this was quite an undertaking. After the weekend, the buildings were moved back, and it was business as usual. We want to thank each and every one of you! Was it perfect? No, but it will always be rememberable.

Inside our craft building at Sunflower Festival 2024