I personally didn't see the appeal of an "all you can pick sunflower weekend," but hundreds of other people did, and they came, and they picked. I've never seen a brewery as packed as Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland was on Saturday. Many people, myself included — I was a ceremonial judge and had no responsibilities whatsoever since the crowd voted for its favorite — were there for the 2016 Wahoo Cup, but many more people seemed to be there for the chance to pick free sunflowers.
People are strange.
Despite the sunflower fields looking as if they got dusted with a layer of Agent Orange due to the grubby hands of a never-ending procession of sunflower enthusiasts, the land that surrounds Lickinghole Creek's hilltop property — think rolling hills, meadows, green stuff — is pretty breathtaking.
Plus, this summer, due to the overwhelming demand for flowers that last for two days after you pick them, Lickinghole Creek added three huge new fields dedicated solely to sunflowers. And literally thousands of Richmonders made the 45-minute drive because we all know sunflower field pictures clean up on the Gram. I got 31 likes myself.
Oh, and there was beer! Good beer!
The Wahoo Cup is in its second year and judging by the crowd of people drinking in orange shirts this past Saturday, it will remain an awesome and charitable event for the foreseeable future.
“We wanted to capitalize on the craft beer uprising — which hasn't died down, surprisingly — and feature two cities that U.VA. people in Richmond would support,” says University of Virginia Club of Richmond member, attorney and co-organizer of the event, Mathew Taylor.
(Taylor also mentioned that the event, as all great ideas are, was born in a bar over drinks.)
The Wahoo Cup pits four Richmond breweries against four Charlottesville breweries, and Richmond was represented by Strangeways Brewing, the Answer Brewpub, Kindred Spirit Brewing and Lickinghole Creek.
Charlottesville was represented by, Blue Mountain Brewery (technically in Afton, but we’ll let that slide), Champion Brewing Co., South Street Brewery and Three Notch'd Brewing Co.
Tasting cups were available, or — and I wouldn’t recommend it — you could buy eight full beers and go to town. Some people did just that. I only hope they could remember where they put their sunflowers.
In the end, the home farm ended up bringing the Wahoo Cup back to Richmond with a slim majority of the crowd voting for Lickinghole Creek's Carrot Cake Imperial Amber Ale. I had one —and it was excellent — but were the voters were perhaps swayed by the bushel of free sunflowers wilting in their car’s backseat? We can never know that answer for sure.
But it wasn’t all drinking and picking flowers. Lickinghole Creek gave a dollar per beer to the Wahoo Cup’s charity, Children of Fallen Patriots, which provides college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. It’s a cool charity. The event raised over a thousand dollars.
Lickinghole Creek is a pretty cool place, too. Unfortunately, this appeared on their website the day after the Cup: “Due to an amazing turnout, 99% of the sunflower field has been picked. There may be some sunflowers left, but they are small and spread out over a very large field.”
You people are vultures!
P.S. The heavy U.Va. alumni crowd watched their football team drop another game and fall to a grim 0-3. People didn't seem that upset though, because, you know, sunflowers and beer.