For the first time since 2019, Whitehall Farm, located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has brought back their popular sunflower field.
Originally set to bloom around Sept. 15, the sunflowers gave organizers and volunteers a surprise by blooming two weeks early. The field, about an hour drive from Columbus, will be open to the public on the weekends of Sept. 10 and Sept. 17 from sunrise to sunset, weather permitting.
Off Route 68, not far from the main strip of the town, the field is nestled on about 940 acres of land and is a popular destination for visitors, Mark Heise, chair of the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce and local business owner, said. The field of yellow sunflowers is an accurate way to represent the namesake of Yellow Springs, he said.
“This is one of our efforts to try and bring events back to Yellow Springs and exude a true Yellow Springs experience,” Heise said. “It is one of the most family-friendly events that we partner with to help run, and people come from all over the country.”
Heise said the flower field enters the minds of visitors long before bloom season, and the Chamber of Commerce values presenting it yearly.
”As a shop owner, I can tell you that we start getting questions in May as to when the sunflower field is going to bloom; it’s really tough for any one organization to coordinate this and run this and make it happen,” Heise said. “It’s something we as a Chamber want to make sure happens for our community and our visitors. ”
The field is a very popular spot for the Yellow Springs community and visitors because it offers a unique spectacle and sense of joy, Ashley Mangen, a volunteer at the field who helps ensure visitors’ safety and preserve the field, said.
“It gives a sense of maybe happiness and joy to be out in nature and to look at the sunflowers,” Mangen said. “A lot of people have a lot of happy memories whether it’s with the sunflowers or a part of their day when they come out to see it.”
Dave and Sharen Neuhardt, who bought Whitehall Farm fully in 1999 with the help of the community, promised the farm would be used for agriculture. They now loan the property out for events like the annual sunflower field, which the Tecumseh Land Trust and Chamber of Commerce use as a form of fundraising for public safety measures, Heise said.
“There’s generations of kids who have their pictures taken in front of the sunflowers, which has been one of the downsides of the last couple of years,” Heise said. “I know my family, we took pictures at the same place and the same time every year.”