It’s high noon on a warm July Friday. The first race of the day is about to start and there are four contenders, including perhaps the largest athlete in the mix and, surprisingly, the reigning champ. Miss Piggy, Piglet, Boss Hawg and Petunia.
With the crowd counting down, the race begins — and ends within 15 seconds. “And Petunia won by a snout!” It must have been that Oreo prize waiting for the winner.
But also collecting winnings are the folks behind the race — and the sunflower festival ending Saturday and the goats and ponies and petting zoo and hay ride and gem mining and bee farm (honey for sale) and a small cafe, all collectively known as Copper Creek Farm at 1514 Reeves Station Road, south and west of Calhoun, just west of Ga. 53 before the split.
It is owned by the Grogan family and offers a great rural treat for families. It’s also part of a larger web of something called Agritourism, a back-to-the-farm concept that has worked so well for Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge or even all the farms in our area including Lowery’s on Ga. 140 between U.S. 27 and Ga. 53. Even on a blazing hot Friday afternoon, the roadside operation was stocked with melons, tomatoes, sweet corn and just about any other bit of locally grown produce you prefer. And more.
Whether its a winery (primarily in North Georgia but spreading further to the west each year) or longtime favorites such as Carlton Farms in Rockmart, agritourism is … OK, growing .. in Georgia. And for good reason.
Take Friday for instance. Among the hundreds moving around Copper Creek on Friday were the friends and counselors of one of the best things Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation does: Camp Goodtimes. Designed as a summer day camp for developmentally challenged youth, Camp Goodtimes offers various activities as well as field trips. On Friday, one of the big draws was the quick hayride around Copper Creek, including the final offerings of the 2019 sunflower festival. Early indicators from the excited kids: This was a great field trip.
And for the right reasons. Copper Creek offers more than what we expected — the sunflower fields and maybe a few narrative pit stops. This was much more.
As they describe it: “Cow Train, Gem Mining, Hayride, Pig Races, Animated Chicken Show, Barn Loft Slide, Corn Box, Sunflower Box, Pony Maze, Giant Jumping Pillow, Milking Cow, Pony Rides, Petting Barn, Steer Roping, Monster Pumpkin and Watermelon Cannon, Music and so much more.”
Today (Saturday) marks the last day of the Sunflower Festival. On the way (with planting beginning very soon): Fall pumpkins and a corn maze. It opens Sept. 27 and continues until Nov. 2.
What’s nice is almost everything (except for gem mining) is covered by a blanket admission price: $14.95 per person with children under 36 months admitted for free. Those 60 and older save $2. Through today, you can spend an extra $6 to get a container to harvest your own sunflowers as well.
The General Store offers glazed pecans, almonds, peanut brittle, goat soap, local honey and T-shirts. The restaurant has a quick lunch or snack selection as well.
Copper Creek is closed Sundays and has a summer schedule as well. Our advice: Call before going at 706-280-5592. Or visit: http://coppercreekfarm.com/