Thousands flock to Harvestville sunflower festival

A family stops for some some photography in the acres of sunflowers at Harvestville Farms east of Donnellson on Hwy 2, Sunday afternoon. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


DONNELLSON – If you build it they will come.

That saying’s usually tied to the 1989 Field of Dreams movie, but a wave has started of late where the adage applies to sunflower fields.

Kathy, Adam and Julie Hohl of Harvestville Farms decided to see what would happen if they planted three acres of sunflowers on the farmstead a couple miles east of Donnellson.

And people came from all over to pick the flowers, walk through the rows, and even sit for some photography.

Olivia Kronk, of Quincy, holds up a couple sunflowers she picked with her grandmother Sunday at Harvestville Farms just east of Donnellson. The farm is hosting another 4-day festival starting Thursday. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“We had to push the date back on this because of Mother Nature several times, but we finally got it open and we had over 900 people come through on Saturday,” said Julie Hohl.

“It was wonderfully insane, it was a beautiful day and it went over really well.”

The first weekend of the festival was held last week from Thursday through Sunday. Another four-day festival is scheduled for this week Thursday, Aug. 15, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Hohl’s have wagons that take visitors back to the sunflower fields where photographers are set up on site. The flowers are sold and can be cut right in the field.

Trevor and Skyler Harris, of Carthage stop of a selfie in the Harvestville Sunflower fields Sunday afternoon, while son Tucker, 2, takes walks through the rows. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Julie Hohl said the farm is trying to be innovative in their approach to customer offerings.

“We heard about other farms doing this across the country, so we thought we would give it a try,” she said. “Who doesn’t love sunflowers. They’re beautiful and people just love them.”

The sunflower acreage also helps the farm with pollination and is good for the environment. The Hohls bring in bees to help pollinate the acres of pumpkins planted each year, but Julie said now the sunflowers are bringing in the bees naturally.

A bumble bee looks for nectar in the seed pods of the one of the sunflowers at the Harvestville farm Sunday afternoon. The sunflowers are helping the bee environment and also the farm by providing the flowers for pollination. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Adam Hohl said planting the sunflowers is gaining popularity. He said the type of flower in the field is ornamental without much agriculture value, but some farms are planting sunflowers for the oils that can be produced.

“We’ve grown them in the past on a much smaller scale,” he said. “A couple of other farms across the country are doing this and have some success with it so we decided to take a look at it,” Adam Hohl said.

“We just decided to open them up for pictures and pick your own. There are now nine in the state that are doing for the first time this year.”

More information on the festival and the farm can be found at the Harvestville website at

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