~ PVN staff report
LURAY, Sept. 2 — A yellow and black theme will be seen throughout Luray this weekend — but this isn’t the running of Preakness, and these aren’t Black-eyed Susans. Five organizations have joined forces to host the second annual Page Valley Sunflower Festival to help kickoff the Labor Day Weekend this Saturday, Sept. 4.
A bulk of activities are centered around a field at Ralph Dean Park planted with 150 pounds of sunflower seeds in three phases by the Page County Farmers Association. The sunflowers provide the theme for the event and a key fundraiser for the Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA). Photos may be taken in the “fields of gold” or clippings can be taken in exchange for a donation to PACA. The non-profit promotes healthy life choices for youth and families in Page County through educational programs and promotions that address issues from substance abuse to childhood obesity.
PACA will kick things off with a 1K Fun Run around the fitness trail at Ralph Dean Park at 10 a.m. (registration at 9:30 a.m. – meet at the Class of ’71 shelter or register online at the PACA website).
The Luray Recreation Department is setting up a wide array of activities at the park that continue until 4 p.m., including hay rides, lawn games, a petting zoo, bounce house, pony rides, interactive butterfly tent, pumpkin painting patch, bird feeder craft, face painting, live music and food vendors.
Sunflower signs will lead visitors between the festival and downtown, where the Luray Downtown Initiative has worked with local merchants to ensure some great sunflower-themed specials during Saturday’s festivities.
Adding to the draw downtown, the Page Valley Arts Council will present live music and performances in the lawn behind the Warehouse Art Gallery just off Main Street. Special medallion keepsakes created by the local “Pottery Lady,” Cathie Miranda, will be given to festival-goers at the park — visitors can take those medallions to participating locations in Downtown Luray to receive special discounts at shops and restaurants.
PACA plans to also be on site at the sunflower field at Ralph Dean Park on Sunday, Sept. 5 and again on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, for visitors and locals alike to get additional sunflower clippings in exchange for donations.
The Page Valley Sunflower Festival returns from its 2019 launch after being canceled last Labor Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Page Alliance for Community Action is seeking volunteers, including students, to help staff the event. Email [email protected]