BILLINGS — Last year, Billings native Aubrey Hopkins had an idea for the city’s first sunflower field. That idea has since blossomed into a sunflower field on the West End. It’ll be the setting of Hopkin’s inaugural sunflower festival in Billings on September 15 and 16.
“I’ve just had this big dream to have this sunflower field and I thought it would be so cool to host all these festivals and events out here” said Hopkins on Sunday.
It took Hopkins just a year to complete her dream.
“It was a lot of making things up on the fly. I don’t know how to garden,” Hopkins said.
She surprised herself by hand planting 5000 sunflower seeds in a field by Shiloh Road and Grand Avenue.
“A very small percentage of them actually germinated so then I had to plant thousands of transplants after that. So, it has been a very long summer, but obviously very rewarding,” said Hopkins.
Rewarding for Hopkins and the dozens of people who came by to take photos, like the Baker family.
“Sunflowers are my favorite and so having a field full of them and getting my photos taken in them is like a dream come true,” said 14-year-old Kelsie Watson.
It’s a sight to see for those who’ve never had the chance.
“It’s like seeing the ocean,” said 9-year-old Kyleigh Baker.
“You don’t really see it around here, so it makes it nice. It’s like in the middle of everything, here’s this pretty little patch of sunflowers,” Amber Baker said.
For Billings photographer Katy Beebe, it was a field of dreams.
“So easy, it’s so easy. These pictures are going to be phenomenal, probably some of the best I’ve ever done,” Beebe said.
Both Beebe and the Bakers said they’ll be back next weekend for the inaugural sunflower festival which will host dozens of food trucks.
“We’ll have a huge tent out here with a ton of seating and shade and porta-potties. And there will also be live music both evening so I’m so excited to have some awesome talent out here too,” said Hopkins.
It’s a project that’s near to Hopkin’s heart and seeing it all come to fruition makes the hiccups along the way worth it.
“I’m sure my friends will see these and be asking about it. We’ll be out here next week, I know it,” Beebe said.
“I didn’t even think this was going to be possible, so this is amazing, and I’m honored that people are coming out to use the field,” said Hopkins.
To learn more about the sunflower field festival, click here.