It's official: One of East Tennessee's best kept secrets is no longer a secret as thousands flock to see the sunflowers at Forks of the River.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency knew the 70 acre field of flowers was growing in popularity and even expanded the parking lot at the wildlife management area in response to last year's parking woes.
Now, they've decided to celebrate this popularity by holding a Sunflower Festival. The free event kicks off Saturday, July 8 at 9 a.m.
TWRA and Legacy Parks will be hosting guided hikes to show off the stunning field, as well as having an interpretive talk about the importance of the flowers and how they help the bees, many species of birds and people in the area.
There will also be plenty of educational and fun activities for the kids to enjoy at the festival.
If you're in East Tennessee this summer, heading to this year's sunflower display is a must-do. That's because TWRA will be letting the soil sit and rejuvenate for a few years, meaning there won't be another field of sunflowers to enjoy again until summer 2019.
So far, TWRA said the Legacy Parks Foundation has raised over $3 million to preserve 1,000 acres of land since 2007.
If you're wondering how to get to Forks of the River WMA, here are directions:From I-40, take James White Pkwy exit (388A) and stay to the left to continue on James White Parkway. Cross over the TN River and take the Sevier Ave./Hillwood Dr. Exit. Turn Left onto Sevier Ave. (turns into Hillwood Dr.). Turn right onto Island Home Ave. (at bottom of hill). Take the first left onto McClure Ln. just passed Ijams Nature Center. Follow signs to the WMA. A TWRA gravel parking lot is to the right at the end of McClure Lane.
Below is a map on how to get there as if you were heading from World's Fair Park.