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Celebrating community

by GABRIEL DAVIS
Staff Writer | July 28, 2023 1:30 AM

EPHRATA – Local non-profit Cloudview Farm will be putting on the 2nd annual Summer Sunflower Fest this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on their Ephrata farm located at 17305 Frey Road.

Cloudview’s Education and Community Coordinator Julie Johnston spoke about the motivation behind the Summer Sunflower Fest.

“Our non-profit focus is on education and community, and it’s one of our three main seasonal community events, (to) just bring people out to the farm, see what’s going on, see where their food is coming from, just go out and have a community gathering and fun,” said Johnston.

Sunflower Fest will feature numerous activities, local vendors, an ice cream truck, Johnston said, and baked goods and treats from Cloudview Farm’s sibling business Cloudview Kitchen, located in Soap Lake. According to an informational poster for the event, admission is $5 for adults and free for children.

“We have sunflowers all over the property,” said Johnston, “but we grow specifically a patch of sunflowers that are the really tall, six-feet-plus ones, and we cut a maze through them, so everybody can go explore through the sunflower maze.”

According to Cloudview Farm’s website, the organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational farm founded in 2012 and provides educational opportunities and agricultural services and events for residents of Grant County, particularly Ephrata, Soap Lake and Moses Lake. The website also states that Cloudview collaborates with local residents, schools and businesses for those services and events, such as the Summer Sunflower Fest.

“The Ephrata library will be here to do some story time…and they’ll have their mobile library where you can check out books or sign up for a library card,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said that Family Services of Grant County would also have an informational table at the event.

Aside from a vendor market, Johnston said the festival will have various unscheduled and ongoing activities attendees can participate in throughout the event, such as a $15 paint-a-pot station, where individuals can paint their own pot and put a plant of their choosing inside it. The informational poster states there will also be lawn games, photo props, and coloring and crafts.

“We will have a free seeding station, where you can plant sunflower seeds,” said Johnston. “We also have a little gnome and fairy scavenger hunt. There’s a QR code they can scan, and there’s a map that they can go around and find the different gnomes and fairies…We’ve put them in locations that will highlight certain areas of the farm, so that people can go and walk around the farm and see different areas.”

Johnston said that since the farm is a non-profit, they are always trying to fundraise for something. She said their focus for the Summer Sunflower Fest is a new goat barn for the farm.

“We’ve raised a little bit of money and we need a bunch more,” said Johnston. “So we’ll be selling some goat feed as a donation to raise funds for the barn that we’re going to start building this fall.”

Johnston said that the purpose of their seasonal events are not primarily fundraising, but instead furthering local connections and helping to educate about the farm’s initiatives and practices.

“It’s more of an opportunity to just get the community out here,” said Johnston.

Johnston said in an email to the Columbia Basin Herald that Cloudview will also be hosting a Science in the Garden Summer Camp for children Monday and Tuesday, as well as a Cooking with Cloudview event for children from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10. According to the website, these events are not free, but those interested can apply for scholarship assistance.

For more information on Cloudview Farm, visit cloudviewfarm.org/ephrata.

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com.

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COURTESY PHOTO/CLOUDVIEW FARM

A vendor selling flowers and produce at Cloudview Farm’s 2022 Summer Sunflower Fest, which was the event’s first year. The event featured local vendors and activities and will do the same this year.

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COURTESY PHOTO/CLOUDVIEW FARM

Cloudview Farm is a non-profit educational farm located in Ephrata at 17305 Frey Road. They will be hosting their 2nd annual Summer Sunflower Fest this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children.