Get Your Cameras Ready… the Sunflower Fields are Set to Return to the Champaign-Urbana Area This Summer
A field of sunflowers will once again grace Champaign County with its beauty this summer. And it should be in bloom very soon.
A tentative opening date for the sunflower field – and its maze, in the shape of the farm’s iconic barn logo – will be Friday, July 16.
That’s the latest word from Clearview Farm in Champaign, where a new sunflower field has been planted — and members of the public are encouraged to get out and enjoy them.
Jim Voss, vice president of farms for The Atkins Group, told chambanamoms.com on Thursday that “by this time next week, I think we’ll be pretty much in full bloom, they’re coming on very strong.”
When Goss visited the field on Thursday, only about 20 flowers had started to bloom — with thousands more to come.
Goss said that visitors should anticipate the same beauty they saw last year – but it will be a new experience, thanks to different topography at the site. The sunflowers were planted much more densely and closer together, so the field is thicker.
Some of the flowers – thanks in part to “perfect” weather – will also be much taller.
“I’m 6-foot-5, and there are a few spots on the farm where they are almost my height,” he said.
He anticipates that the flowers will be in bloom at least 2-3 weeks.
Anyone who was in town last summer might recall thousands of people flocking to Stone Creek Subdivision in Urbana to take in the beauty of the beautiful, vibrant sunflowers.
The same people responsible for last year’s field are behind the effort at Clearview Farm.
In addition to optimal photo opportunities, visitors also can navigate a maze in the sunflower field in the shape of a precision-planted barn (get a sneak peak here).
“It was inspired by the original barn that was located just south of St. Thomas More,” said Goss. “It is almost an exact replica of that.” (The barn had to be removed from the property due to structural issues.)
Entrances to the maze will be defined, Goss said. There will be some unique spots to take pictures, he added.
And here’s the best part: Clearview Farm’s sunflower field and maze is completely FREE to visit and enjoy.
HOW TO GET THERE
Clearview Farm is located near the intersection of Interstates 57 and 74, in Champaign. If you just want to stick it in your GPS and go, the address is 3501 N. Mattis Avenue. (Be mindful of the construction on Mattis Avenue. If you want to avoid it, use Olympian Drive instead).
To get to the sunflower field, which is located on the part of the property that hugs I-74, go to Legacy Avenue. You can see the location of the sunflower field on this map; the sunflower field is the large one in yellow.
There is ample parking along the street. There will also be bathroom facilities (port-a-potties) and trash cans on site. The city of Champaign would like to keep the parking all along the outside of the street and not the inside; visitors are asked to please follow any posted signs.
Last summer, the sunflowers were a literal bright light during a time dominated by uncertainty and fear. In 2020, the blooms peaked in late August, right around the time schools and the University of Illinois was headed back in session. Social media feeds were flooded with photos of families and individuals basking in the delightful field.
This year, Clearview Farm planted the sunflowers much earlier in the season, resulting in their July appearance.
“It was such a bright spot last year in a dismal year. We hope this brings people out to the countryside and enjoy it,” Goss said. “There’s no secret to this. We’re trying to do it for the educational component but we want people to enjoy it.”
Thanks to Amy Scott Photography for presenting this year’s information on sunflower fields around Champaign-Urbana. Amy Scott Photography offers friendly, comfortable photography sessions with the focus on you. They look forward to creating photographic memories in the sunflower fields this summer with you and your family.
For more information, check out her website, Facebook, or Instagram feed.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment to take advantage of portraits with this once a year, spectacular treat as the backdrop.
Shortly after the sunflower craze hit Champaign-Urbana last summer, the folks responsible for the phenomenon — local real estate developers The Atkins Group — began making plans for a return of the bountiful beauty for summer 2021.
This time, the plan was for the sunflowers to anchor the educational farm across town to the far northwest side of Champaign.
We wrote about Clearview Farm’s mission and vision earlier this season when its canola plants were blooming.
Thanks to Clearview Farm’s educational component, it has provided detailed information about the sunflowers and their blooming cycles at the farm in this helpful document.
Clearview Farm encompasses roughly 140 acres of farmland. Guests can take the opportunity to observe and learn about other crops in bloom at Clearview Farms during their trip.
Many of the 17 types of crops grown there are not common in Central Illinois, including flax, buckwheat, red clover, alfalfa, triticale.
When the buckwheat matures, that will be another opportunity for viewing and photos, Goss said. That will happen in the fall.
CERRO GORDO SUNFLOWER FIELD
Another sunflower field that popped up in 2020 to the delight of visitors is located outside Cerro Gordo, a small town that is southwest of Monticello. This sunflower field grows flowers specifically to harvest its kernels for Prairie Melody Birdseed.
This field will most likely bloom in early to mid-August. It also is happy to welcome visitors to see its beautiful bounty, safely.
The location of the Cerro Gordo sunflower field will be a bit different this year, as the land owners rotate their crops. Exact location will be updated as the plants get closer to flowering.
Follow along on the Prairie Melody Birdseed Facebook page for more information about as they share the development of the sunflower field that will become Prairie Melody wild bird food.
THE PARIS SUNFLOWER FIELD (NOT FRANCE)
Did you know there’s another sunflower maze in Central Illinois? The L&A Sunflower Maze just outside of Paris is gearing up for another fun season, and will open officially on Friday, July 9.
L&A Sunflower Maze has an admission fee, and concessions are available on site, too. We’ve put together what you need to know about visiting L&A Sunflower Maze and other fun activities to do around Paris, Illinois, and make a day trip out of it.
A few tips when visiting a sunflower field:
- Be aware that sunflowers attract bees. There are PLENTY OF BEES in these fields. And other bugs, too.
- Bring your own sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Hats are a good idea, too. Not a lot of shade here.
- Remember, these are fields. There is not a paved path. Terrain may be uneven and bumpy. Plan accordingly.
- If it is rainy, make sure to wear close-toed shoes and/or take something to clean your feet off when you get back to your car.
- Remember that this is private property; be respectful. Don’t take any sunflowers home, please. Leave the field as you found it.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera — and your smiles.
Want to see more flowers in the Champaign-Urbana area? We have suggestions for where to see beautiful flowers and gardens.