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Sunflower Festival to be held in East Tennessee this weekend

The festival kicks off at 9 a.m Saturday.

Get your best photo shoot outfit ready y'all, because the sunflowers are bloomin'!

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Legacy Parks are hosting the third Sunflower Festival at the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area in Knoxville this Saturday, July 13 from 9 a.m. to noon.

"The free event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a welcoming and interpretive talk by TWRA," the festival's Facebook event page said. "A guided tour of the area will begin at 10:30 a.m.  Please note: there will be no parking along the road or on private land without the landowner’s permission and commercial use and private events on the area are prohibited."

Folks are asked to only park in the TWRA gravel parking lot at the end of McClure Lane. 

But the sunflower fields at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area are already in full bloom, so you can visit at anytime the area is open to avoid the crowds of the festival. 

A few years ago, WMA Manager Bill Smith noticed just how much people love the sunflowers and decided it would be a good idea for TWRA and the public to have an official event, the festival's Facebook event page said.  

“The sunflowers draw thousands of visitors every year, and we want them to enjoy their aesthetic value while understanding their benefits to wildlife and hunters,” Smith explained in the event description.

Just what are those wildlife benefits?

"Sunflowers are planted primarily for wildlife benefit. A variety of songbirds utilize sunflowers as a number one food source. Now, if you put out a bird feeder with birdseed out on your back porch, by and large, the first seed that is gone is going to be the sunflowers," Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesperson Matt Cameron told 10News.

The 70 acres of sunflowers are "highly beneficial to pollinators, and the seeds they produce provide abundant food for several species of birds and other wildlife," the event description said. 

Guests will definitely want to get out there in the next few weeks, because the large sunflower fields are only there every other year as TWRA rotates the crop to maintain soil fertility and control pests. 

So get your pics in now, because the next time you'll be able to, it'll be 2021. 

Can't wait to get out there? You can get a sneak peek with our 360 video. Click on the video to watch.