People who love taking selfies in front of big, bright flowers will want to take a drive to Altona this summer.
The town and the Manitoba Sunflower Festival are teaming up to create a Sunflower selfie plot where visitors and tourists can snap pictures of themselves and their friends in a field of blooming yellow Sunflowers.
Mayor Al Friesen said the initiative checked a lot of boxes for town council.
"It addressed a need expressed by visitors to the Sunflower Festival, was driven by the community and did not require taxpayer funding, beyond the use of an unused plot of land."
The joint project aims to jump on the latest craze in which tourists are stopping along busy highways, getting out of their vehicles and taking selfies in front of blooming Sunflower and canola crops.
That has raised serious safety concerns, and in some cases, has resulted in crops being damaged by people walking into the fields and trampling down the plants and even cutting off the Sunflower heads as a souvenir.
Green Valley Equipment is a partner on the project and will be underwriting the overall cost and maintenance of the crop, which will be located on a one-acre parcel of land in Altona, just south of the Access Field ballpark.
"That location was attractive because there's a parking lot nearby, so the safety concerns about parking on the street are eliminated," said GVE location manager Mark Krahn.
Manitoba Sunflower Festival Chair Theresa Figurski concurred on the issue of safety and hoped this kind of project would also eliminate traffic on area farmer's fields.
Krahn pointed out there is still a lot of work to do as the site will need to be cultivated and prepared for planting, with the appropriate variety of seed selected.
"We'd like to have seed in the ground by April 15 so that we can have Sunflowers blooming by mid-July. That way we can nicely tie it together with this year's Sunflower Festival."