Are you really a Connecticut resident if you don’t visit Buttonwood Farm during its annual Sunflower Festival? Rumour had it (and by rumour I mean a coworker told me) that a local farm held an annual Sunflower Festival in Griswold Connecticut. All I needed to hear was “sunflower” and “festival” in the same sentence to know that I had to visit!

Fast forward two weeks to opening day of the annual Buttonwood Farm Sunflower Festival– The farm is about an hour drive from where I live. As I pulled up to the address, I followed the trend of the other visitors and parked along the highway.

My first order of business was to head to the notorious Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream stand. Known for their hand-churned ice cream, Buttonwood Farm has 38 unique flavors of ice cream, ranging from Butter Brickle to Forbidden Silk Chocolate to Purple Cow.

On the hot summer day, the long line for ice cream curved down the hill and around the parking lot. Although the wait for ice cream was a bit of a turn off, the true reward came when I finally purchased it- one scoop of almond coconut and one scoop of coffee mocha crunch later, I knew the wait was worth every delicious bite!

The 14-acre sunflower field was the perfect scenic route to explore while digesting my creamy, delicious snack. The flowers were as breathtaking in person as the pictures I had seen all over social media. Back in 2003, the owners of the farm decided to plant the fields of sunflowers, which have since gained popularity around the community.

My favorite part of the flower fields wasn’t the huge bees or vibrant yellow petals, but the philanthropic aspect that makes the farm so unique; the owners of Buttonwood Farm sell bunches of sunflowers during the Sunflower Festival for $10 and all proceeds go to Connecticut’s Make a Wish Foundation. According to its website, Buttonwood Farm has raised over $791,000 for Make a Wish Foundation since 2004.

This year, the festival is held from July 23 to July 31, 2016. Be sure to head to Buttonwood Farm to enjoy a hayride around the farm, a tractor ride through the cow pasture, and some delicious hand-churned ice cream. As a Connecticut local, I can honestly say that you won’t regret it!

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