FONT & AUDIO

MORE STORIES


The festival will feature more than 30 varieties of sunflowers, a painted lady butterfly release is planned as well.

COURTESY PHOTO: LEE FARMS - Lee Farms Sunflower Festival, which began in 2019, will feature more than 30 varieties of sunflowers as well as a scenic hayride and sunflower maze.Tualatin's Lee Farms will host its annual Sunflower Festival from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

The event, which began in 2019, will feature more than 30 varieties of sunflowers as well as a scenic hayride and sunflower maze.

"Our hayride actually takes you from kind of our main farm area out to the maze … just kind of this big loop around the farm," said Teagan Lee Milera, who is a sixth-generation Lee family farmer.

The sunflower maze, which encompasses about 3 acres, is a popular attraction, containing Lee Farms' tallest sunflowers, she said.

"Those are our giants," Lee Milera said. "Those are anywhere between 6 and 12 feet (tall)."

Admission to the event also includes picking of sunflowers, use of the jump pad, music and more.

General admission tickets are $25 for adults (ages 11 and older) and $15 for young children (ages 3 to 10) at the door. Children under age 2 are free and online pre-purchases can be purchased for slightly less.

This year's festival has some added poignance. The sunflower is a national symbol of Ukraine, which has been fighting against a Russian invasion since February.

Lee Milera has an aunt from Ukraine, who will be attending the event along with her children, Lee-Milera said.

"They'll be here helping us specifically for that Sunflower Festival," she said.

Lee Milera said the family farm is always trying to boost its soil structure, and one way to do that is through insect biodiversity. Last year, the farm's first honey bee hive was added to help out with crop pollination.

"We're working on building up that population, which helps every crop on our farm," she said. "It helps tremendously with our corn, with the pumpkins and then definitely the sunflowers, just cross pollinating."COURTESY PHOTO: LEE FARMS - Tualatins Lee Farms will host its annual Sunflower Festival from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

Lee Farms also will host a new event this year, a butterfly release set for Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21.

Up to 500 painted lady butterflies are expected to be released between those days.

Like honeybees, butterflies are great pollinators for sunflowers, said Lee Milera.

"We're very excited and it's going to be beautiful," she said. "Our sunflower festival is three weekends, but we're just doing the butterflies the first weekend."

Plans are to release an estimated 100 butterflies each of the two days of the event, all dependent on the temperatures that day. It has to be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit in order for the butterflies to properly open and still survive.

Tentatively, Lee Milera said the release will occur between noon and 2 p.m. on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21.

Painted lady butterflies are native to the area and they love both sunflower pollen and nectar, she said.

In addition, numerous customers have purchased their own butterflies — 150 each day have already been sold — that they can release during the mass release or at another time.

Butterfly releases are separate purchases.

For details on the butterfly release and more information on the sunflower festival, visit leefarmsoregon.com.

Lee Farms is located at 21975 S.W. 65th Ave., about a mile south of Tualatin city limits.


You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.


Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!