John and Cherie Kissiar stand in front of hundreds of sunflowers at Kissiar Sunflower Patch in Licking. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

Kissiar Sunflower Patch in Licking will host a season-opening event from 11 a.m. to sunset on Saturday, July 31.

The community-oriented event will feature food vendors, novelties and a candlelight vigil that owners and event organizers and John and Cherie Kissiar expect will light up much of the sunflower patch.

Visitors to the Patch can “adopt” sunflowers and place specially-designed memorial cards on them bearing notes in memory of lost loved ones. Upon donation for a memorial card during the upcoming event, people will receive a candle for the evening vigil (participants are asked to bring a lighter or matches to light their own candles). Photo opportunities with lit candles, memorial cards, lost loved one photos or adopted sunflowers can be purchased separately through professional photographers who will be on hand.

Kent Nichols (of Kent Nichols Signs) will be providing drone coverage. 

Other photo opportunities will be available with the murals and props around the main building at the Patch. 

An “adoption” card bearing a message of love hangs from a large sunflower at Kissiar Sunflower patch in Licking.

The Kissiars launched the nonprofit Sunflower Patch after their son, Bret, died of testicular cancer in early 2020 at the age of 29. One of Bret’s wishes was to go to Disney World, and his parents promised to take him there after he finished his chemotherapy treatments and his health returned. While that never took place, the Kissiars plan to fulfill the promise by sending a local terminally ill child to Disney World in Bret’s memory.

Donations and proceeds from the event will go toward the fulfillment of that goal.

Inside the “general store” at Kissiar Sunflower Patch in Licking, people can obtain sunflower “adoption” cards or souvenir T-shirts or simply leave donations.

“Bring your cameras and loved ones to make some memories,” Cherie said. “And please stick around to participate and enjoy the candlelight vigil to light up the sunflower patch.”

Kissiar Sunflower Patch is located at 115 N. Main St. in Licking. More information is available on Facebook.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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