Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Tourism Marketing
Governor Youngkin announced that Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has awarded more than $2.7 million for 259 local and regional tourism marketing programs across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for communities in Virginia thanks to tourism.
Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers in Botetourt County received a $20,000 grant for its September 2022 Sunflower Festival and Vendor Show. The farm then raised $20,000 in matching funds, featuring more than 105 vendors at the East Coast’s largest sunflower festival and vendor’s fair.
For the September 2022 festival, new ad dollars will be spent to drive traffic from targeted areas outside of local reach. Targeted ads and social media will reach Charlottesville, Richmond, Winchester, Fairfax and surrounding areas. Attracting crowds outside of their market will help generate more revenue for the community through gas spend, room nights, and meals. The surrounding local shops also benefit from the extra foot traffic.
“Botetourt County has long been known for its agriculture and is now becoming a tourist destination. Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers is a true example of agritourism at its best. We are so proud of the dedicated work Candace and her family have done with the annual Sunflower Festival and are thrilled to have her recognized at the state level with a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation to help grow the event. said Botetourt County Council. of the Chairman of Supervisors, Dr. Richard Bailey. “Candace is a leader in our community and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the festival and her family farm.
“The Sunflower Festival exemplifies the region’s agritourism, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to Botetourt County and Virginia’s Blue Ridge each year. Adding new marketing dollars to promote the 2022 festival will undoubtedly improve visibility, increase attendance and economic impact,” said Landon Howard, President of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
“These grant funds provide an important opportunity for Commonwealth communities to accelerate recovery efforts and continue their best-in-class marketing initiatives to attract new travellers,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia. Tourism. “Increased visitation translates directly into revenue generation, underscoring the important role of tourism in driving economic growth and expansion”
The VTC Regional Marketing Program aims to help Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) generate nighttime visits and supplement funding for economically significant special events and festivals to increase nighttime visits. DMO funding is expected to generate more than 125,000 room nights over the next 18 months.
The Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Festival helps diversify the income of the family farm. The farmland was purchased in 1900, was a tomato cannery in 1916 and started as a dairy in 1927. In September 2019 the farm sold the dairy industry and now operates beef cattle and has a hay operation and straw. The farm is still family owned and operated today.
In 2015, 20 acres of black oil sunflowers were planted. Due to the beautiful scenery, the following year the fields were opened for visitors to walk around and admire. Visitors also enjoyed the wagon rides, farm animals to pet, and the many craft and food vendors.
Today the festival has expanded greatly with weekend activities including hay wagon rides, a farm animal petting area, over 105 unique craft and food vendors, photo booths and live music. On weekdays, the farm offers 3 excursion options for preschoolers, seniors, and children and adults with special needs. They also have popular sunset dinners in the sunflowers and “goat yoga”.
After the festival is over, the crowds have dwindled and the sunflowers have all bowed their heads, the farm will harvest the seeds and bag them in black oil sunflower seeds. Beaver Dam Farm sunflower seeds can be found at Northwest Hardware stores, Ikenberry Orchards, and The Best Place antique store. They also have seed packets for customers to plant their own seeds in their gardens.