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Local sunflower festival presses on, but with socially-distanced changes

The festival attracted thousands of people over the weekend

Beaver Dam Farm found a way to still hold their annual sunflower festival despite the coronavirus pandemic.

BUCHANAN, Va. – Many events have been cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but a Botetourt County tradition stayed alive over the weekend.

The 5th annual Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Festival attracted thousands of people so far. Organizer Candace Monaghan believes it was important to press on with the festival due to the overwhelming anxiety people are experiencing this year.

“We can provide a sense of peace to people. They can come, relax, and de-stress," said Monaghan. “Sunflowers make everybody happy. Everyone that comes leaves here with a smile.”

The event did make several socially-distanced changes for the year. Most of the tickets were sold online so that organizers could limit the number of people in the farm.

“When you’re here on 70 acres, there’s plenty of room for everybody,” said Monaghan. “It was more of a decision of ‘How do we make it work? We’re not going to cancel, so how do we make it happen?’”

The sunflower festival also featured vendors such as Tamara Dennis who said it’s a vital event for her business.

“We make probably a quarter of our sales for the year at this festival," said Dennis. “The only comparable thing is the entire Christmas season."

Dennis said the festival reminds her of Christmas because she hasn’t been able to show off her products since the winter due to COVID-19.

“I actually haven’t done a show since Christmastime," said Dennis. "All of my spring events were cancelled. All of my summer events were either cancelled or modified.”

Dennis said she’s grateful the sunflower festival could keep going this year.

“We’ll be able to continue the things we like: being out here, and being with people,” said Dennis.

The sunflower festival continues on Saturday, Sept. 19. For tickets, visit this link.