As I sit here watching the Salute 2 America Celebration from downtown Atlanta with the boom and pop-pop of fireworks in the neighborhood as backdrop, I can honestly say this was the most fun day I’ve spent in a long time! I don’t get to spend nearly as much time with my grandchildren as I’d like, even the two who live locally. So with the shop closed today for the holiday we made plans to spend the entire day with Hayden and Haylee. We went to the Sunflower Festival in Rutledge, about a half hour from our home and truly had the BESTEST time! Even though it was hot as blue blazes, the humidity was low for a change and a nice breeze kept us pretty comfortable. I remembered the sunscreen for the kids, but for some reason it didn’t even occur to me to put it on myself, and I had on a sleeveless blouse which resulted in sunburned arms that are stinging mightily tonight!
There was a huge crowd of people, and there were lots of arts and crafts vendors, but I realized within about 5 minutes that looking at that stuff was not in our best interests! There were too many other fun things that the kids were dying to do, so off we went. Here’s a photo recap of our day (I took a TON of pictures, but I promise not to show all of them!)
Fifteen acres of sunflowers greeted us as we drove down the two-lane country road to the Sunflower Festival farm. It was a sight to see all sizes of sunflowers as far as the eye could see, and all with their little faces turned toward the sun!
This huge arrangement greeted us at the check-in point. We arrived about an hour after the festival opened, and people were toting out HUGE bouquets of sunflowers from the fields that they had picked. You could pick a bouquet for just $10! I convinced the kids that we should wait until we were ready to leave to pick our flowers so we I didn’t have to tote them around. We did a tour of the small flower garden, though, where I managed to snap off a few pics of the kids.
This type of flower garden is what my grandmother called her “kitchen garden.” She’d plant her everyday vegetables and row upon row of flowers. This garden was filled with zinnias, coreopsis, lavender, coneflowers, and tons of other flowers that I can’t name. Hayden, of course, couldn’t sit still for a photo op – he had to pick at the hay bale and show me the straw he managed to pull out!
There were TONS of butterflies (and bumble bees, one of which flew up Mike’s shorts leg and zapped him on the thigh! OUCH!). I had to closely watch Hayden to make sure he wasn’t trying to catch the bees, but he was determined to catch a butterfly. We must have spent at least a half hour in the flower garden while he patiently tried to catch them! Haylee even got in on the act, although she’d squeal every time one fluttered near her – such a girl! At one point, a local newspaper photographer picked up on their efforts and snapped a few pics of them. He asked permission to put them in the paper, and I think Haylee was more excited about getting her picture in the paper than anything!A little hesitant with the goat, but he finally went over and petted it! The goats were better enjoyed at a distance, though!
After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, they finally got to ride the ponies. Neither had ever been on a pony before so they were both thrilled. Hayden must have said “I want to ride the black one” at least a thousand times while we waited! Luckily there was only one little girl ahead of us and she wanted a different pony, so a potential disaster was averted. They all got to ride their choice and were happy riders. At least the wait was under the shade trees so it wasn’t too unbearably hot. Hayden did not want to get off the pony when time was up, but the ponies had had enough – they were starting to balk so we lucked out on the last ride before their rest period.
Unfortunately we missed the tractor parade earlier in the day, but about a dozen of the tractors were still on display and I think both Haylee and Hayden climbed on and “drove” every single one of them! Hayden’s rides were complete with tractor sound effects and other people in the area were enjoying his antics.Haylee, smart girl that she is, spent most of her time on the tractor with the umbrella! I have such fond memories of riding with my granddaddy on his tractor, which also had an umbrella to shield us from the sun!
While Hayden and Haylee played on the tractors, PaPa Mike had wandered off to watch an Indian throwing his tomahawk. The kids weren’t too sure about the Indian until they saw PaPa talking to him, and then they felt a little more safe, I think. Haylee asked him if he was a real Indian, and he laughed and asked her if she was a real little girl! That broke the ice enough for her to ask if he’d take a picture with them. He was happy to oblige.
Time for a snack and a little rest so it was off to find the Watermelon Man we’d spotted earlier. I knew they were going to get it all over themselves, but somehow, it didn’t matter – that’s what napkins are for! Look at that face!!!
Uummm! Do you think he’s enjoying it? Haylee started out eating hers daintily with a fork, but quickly abandoned that and dove right in!
We had to play awhile on the antique fire truck, too, before we left. Hayden always says “cheeeeese” when you start to take his picture so he usually ends up with a goofy expression on his face. I told him to say “monkey” instead and here they are teasing me with cries of monkey, monkey, monkey. Luckily I had the camera on rapid mode so I got one or two good shots out of about six or eight that I took! A perfect end to a perfect day!
I hope you enjoyed the holiday with family and friends, too. I’m heading off to bed to dream of sunflowers and watermelon and hugs and kisses from my precious little grandies!
Tags: Sunflower Farm Festival