News

Nagel switches to Lavender Farms Festival

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

The newly created Sequim Lavender Farmers Association has appointed Scott Nagel as executive director. He will produce the Sequim Lavender Farm Festival, July 15-17, and represent the association to the community.

Nagel will work with the lavender farmers to ensure that the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association capitalizes on opportunities and events to position and promote the association.

“I am honored and pleased to have this opportunity to not only work with these world-renowned farmers and their amazing product but to also be part of creating and expanding the economic health and growth for our beautiful valley,” Nagel said.

Nagel had been executive director for the Sequim Lavender Festival, which the Sequim Lavender Growers Association owns. The farmers association separated from the growers association on Jan. 8.

In a Jan. 11 press release from the growers, Terry Stolz, president of the group, had said he was encouraged that Nagel agreed to accept the challenges that this realignment created and pledged to promote and produce the Lavender Festival.

However, Nagel said he had not committed to a contract at that time. He resigned as the Sequim Lavender Festival executive director on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at a board meeting, saying he took a different offer.

Nagel said he worked for the growers month-to-month for four months without a long-term contract. His previous three-year contract expired in September.

“I had six wonderful years with the Sequim Lavender Growers Association and I feel we made real strides in positioning that festival and their programs for the good of the community,” Nagel said.

“However, the opportunity to work with the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association and their vision for the future gave me a broader sense of what we can create here for the good of Sequim Valley, the products and the farmers. I hope to build on our international reputation and bring more of the world to our doorsteps to enjoy and experience Sequim lavender.”

Steve Ragsdale, lavender farmers association president, said having Nagel lead the organization is perfect.

“He has the passion and experience needed to take this event to the highest level while allowing us the time and opportunity to do what we do best — grow and market lavender,” Ragsdale said. “His input and influence will be invaluable as we build a strong future for this organization and this city.”

Two festivals

An already busy weekend becomes busier on July 15-17 with both the Sequim Lavender Festival, going into its 15th year, and the Sequim Lavender Farms Festival hosting events.

The lavender growers are planning a self-guided farm tour, with farms to be announced. The street fair on Fir Street is planned for the same time and location.

Vickie Oen, farmers’ association spokesman, said the farmers association intends to create an event similar to the Sequim Lavender Festival’s street fair and is in negotiations with the city of Sequim to find a location.

Nagel said about 11,000 people bought button tickets to the farms tour last year.

“We’re about selling and marketing lavender,” he said.

“People are coming from all over the world to go to the farms, not the street fair. We’re a tourism-driven program.”

The farmers intend to offer the busing and early discounts for the tour in line with years past.  
“I don’t think (the tour) is going to be any smaller,” said Mike Reichner, owner of Purple Haze Lavender.
Nagel said the farmers’ tour could grow with the refocusing of their group.

Surprised

Stolz said Nagel’s leaving came as a surprise.

The Lavender Growers Association intends to pursue a new director and continue the original lavender festival.

“We still plan to mount the festival for its great 15th anniversary and have a world-class event,” Stolz said. “Two-thirds of our membership is intact and we just plan to keep going as we were.”

The farmers association attributes the split from the growers to philosophical and administrative differences.

Neither association has plans for collaboration with the other.

A ‘proven track record’

Stolz said the original lavender festival group will focus on engaging the community more and promoting charity through commerce. Stolz said he didn’t want to divulge any information at this time on how the lavender festival would promote charity through commerce.

“We want to get to know our neighbors even more,” he said.

“We also don’t want this (festival) to be perceived as us doing it simply for money. We want to promote this region as the ‘Lavender Capital of North America.’ People are going to love what we’re doing. We have a proven track record.”

Read more about the Sequim Lavender Festival at www.lavenderfestival.com and Sequim Lavender
Growers Association at www.lavendergrowers.org.

Read more about the Sequim Lavender Farms Festival and the association at www.sequimlavender
farmersassociation.org
.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.
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