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From sculptures to sunflowers, experiences abound this weekend

Grab your boots & check out these sights!

AVON, Ohio — Hope springs in many forms, and once again in Avon, that form is a sunflower.

Thanks to the rain this week, Maria’s Field of Hope is blooming again along I-90. More than a million seeds were planted across 23 acres, with this year featuring three types of sunflowers.

All of it was inspired by the little girl who died from a brain tumor, who should now be a teenager.

“Everybody has had a lot of challenges this year, and the field always brings a sense of serenity, a sense of hope, a sense of peace no matter what,” said Megan McNamera, Maria’s mom, who helped start the nonprofit “Prayers From Maria.”

The foundation has raised awareness and money for cancer research. Though the field is free, visitors are encouraged to leave donations. Flowers can also be dedicated through the website prayersfrommaria.org.

“From anywhere in the country to anybody in the country, and you can do it for whatever reason you feel compelled to do it,” McNamera said.

It is not the only place this weekend to chase the outdoor joys of childhood.

On Saturday, the Holden Arboretum will unveil a new sculpture by world-renowned artist Patrick Dougherty. It is made from the branches of willow trees and inspired by hideouts.

“Always try to make something that excites peoples’ imagination. In this case, we have lots of rooms to explore,” Dougherty said. “The inner courtyards that are there and then there are some little cabanas or bivouacs you can go in that are kind of lodged inside the walls.”

As a tough year rolls on, they are places to explore as weather permits, and may be the kind of return to nature we can all use.