Jesse Wegenast, seen here with his five-year-old daughter Anika, has started the Cultus Lake Flower Festival at his home on Wilson Road. The event kicks off Aug. 10. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

The fabulous frivolity of a forest of flowers in Chilliwack

Eclectic flowers beckon with new festival set to open August 10 in Yarrow

Gorgeous flowers as far as the eye can see will undoubtedly speak for themselves.

Dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers and oh-so-many wildflowers will be coming up as part of the new Cultus Lake Flower Festival in Yarrow.

Opening on Aug. 10, the eclectic flower-powered festival is the brainchild of Jesse Wegenast.

He describes his handiwork as a “forest” of flowers, planted on about 3.5 acres.

A pastor and homeless advocate who works in Abbotsford, Wegenast and his wife Sharalin, moved to a seven-acre farm property in Yarrow two years ago to share with his in-laws.

His father-in-law, who is a horticulturist by trade, always maintained a huge garden. Wegenast said he’d wanted to use part of the back five acres to grow flowers, on land that was leased out to another farmer last year.

“This year I wanted to give it a go.”

Why flowers?

“I love how frivolous flowers are,” Wegenast said. “They have no real purpose except to be beautiful. So to be able to create something so beautiful as fields of flowers and to be able to share it with others is just so fantastic.”

He named the festival after “Cultus Lake” even though it is in nearby Yarrow to tie it to a well-known geographical destination that is Cultus for the wider public. The hope is that all of the exciting activities in the area will create some mutual interest.

“Yarrow in the summertime thrives on that Cultus Lake traffic.”

They’ve created a beautiful backdrop to allow people to experience the flower festival however they want to.

“We’re hoping people come, and take some time in the flowers,” Wegenast said.

They can take all the selfies and photos they like. Or they may opt to just soak in the beauty. They can bring the kids, a picnic lunch, or get a treat at the concession stand.

His family has been very encouraging, as he slogged away, “two feet and a heartbeat” creating pathways to make the flowers stand out. Most days it was Wegenast and his cat, Duke, working away in the future field of flowers.

“Because when you create something like this, and work very hard, you’re always doing it with no promise of any return,” he noted.

He bought the seeds and planned the garden. More recently he’s been pulling weeds, and dragging around the flat hose to keep the blooms coming, all without really knowing how many will come to enjoy it.

“That’s when you say, you have to let the work speak for itself,” Wegenast said. “We can enjoy the work for what it is. If nobody comes other than the few hundred tickets sold so far, I feel great. I’ve been saying it will be a spectacular success or failure, but either way it’s going to be spectacular.”

Tickets must be pre-purchased online, $15/carload on weekdays, $20/carload on the weekend, 4215 Wilson Road, Yarrow. www.cultuslakeflowerfest.com.

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Jesse Wegenast, seen here with his five-year-old daughter Anika, has started the Cultus Lake Flower Festival at his home on Wilson Road. The event kicks off Aug. 10. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Bees buzz around a sunflower in a field at the inaugural Cultus Lake Flower Festival. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

A sunflower stands out amongst the others in a field at the inaugural Cultus Lake Flower Festival. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

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