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Golden Grove Farms is planning a sunflower festival, and you’re invited

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Kelley Still Nichols heads home with a harvest of sunflowers from Golden Grove Farm near Fair Grove.

Sometimes there are parties and rumors of parties that not everyone hears about. A festival is coming, but we’re just not sure when, that’s something new.

But at least we know where, and why, and who. Golden Grove Farms, just west of U.S. 65 north of Springfield, is located at 4950 East Missouri Highway KK. That’s north of Fellows Lake, south of Fair Grove, near that old tree that was struck by lightning that’s not there anymore. Forget about the tree.

You can’t miss it, although we’ve missed a few turns in our time. You will probably be okay if you have GPS, or a recent map. Just follow your nose.

“We started planting sunflowers yesterday,” writes Kelley Still Nichols, an associate professor or accounting in the Breech School of Business at Drury University, after four inches more rain.

But ore importantly after two years: “We are changing up our sunflower operation this year. Instead of planting constantly and cutting and delivering, we are having a ‘cut your own’ sunflower festival in mid-July.”

Say what, and when? Typically, that’s when sunflowers begin to bloom, if you can get them planted. With all these record spring rains, that’s a definite maybe.

So Nelson and Kelley Nichols issued an invitation to “bring your family, a picnic and your camera.”
They promise activities for the kids, beverages and snacks. And adozen varieties of sunflowers.

That’s at GoldenGroveFarms.com.

“We can’t control Mother Nature, so we can’t promise exactly when we will open, but we will keep you posted with pictures as the sunflowers are growing.”

“This year, we planted a dozen different varieties, everything from the normal orangey-gold you expect to see, to pinks and reds,” writes Kelley. “The maturation dates vary, so the entire field will have constantly blooming flowers for well over a week. Maybe more.
Nelson and Kelley are supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through a local team, “Kadyn’s Krew.”

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. A defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage and eventually, respiratory failure.

When Kadyn Carroll was diagnosed, her parents, Ryan and Katie, quickly learned that Cystic Fibrosis is a lifelong and progressive genetic disease with no cure.

“Kadyn was a born fighter and has been in the hospital numerous times in her short life,” writes Kelley. “Through sharing her experiences and hearing how many people wanted to do something to help, Kadyn’s Krew was formed.”

The team supports “Great Strides Walk,” through walks and other fundraisers, to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Since Kadyn Carroll was diagnosed in 2009, Kadyn’s Krew has raised more than $320,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis.Foundation, the world’s leader in the search for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. You can learn more, visit www.CFF.org, or follow Kadyn’s Krew on Facebook.

So if on a certain sunny day in mid-July, you’re looking for a reason to take a drive in the Ozarks, take a chance. You might find a Sunflower Festival, and just may, help fund a cure.

Then again, you might get lost.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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