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Lavender Farmers group hires new event producer
The Sequim Lavender Farmers Association is pushing forward with a new approach come this summer.
They’ve hired new event producer David Doxtater and his event-producing firm, The Workshop, of Seattle, to produce the 18th annual Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair, part of Sequim Lavender Weekend from July 18-20.
“We are excited to have the fresh perspective and experience that Dox brings to the table as we improve and grow our annual event, showcasing our six unique and picturesque lavender farms and our great vendors at the park,” said Paul Schiefen, owner of Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm.
Doxtater has been involved in many regional events since he founded The Workshop in 1997 such as The Northwest Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot, New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Seattle Space Needle, Fourth of July Fireworks on Lake Union and Summer Nights at the Pier in Seattle.
He’s been in touch with the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association since last year and found the conversation easy to start because he’s attended Lavender Weekend and previous Sequim Lavender Festivals for years.
“The Sequim area is almost a second home for our family,” he said. “My wife Jenny’s family lives in Diamond Point and our kids have spent their summers there for many years with all of the cousins.”
Vickie Oen, manager of Purple Haze Lavender, said they chose Doxtater to work closely with the farmers and assist them as they re-energize the farm tour and fair to become one of the top summer destination events in the state.
Through that, Doxtater said he wants to better tell the association’s story to the world.
“Over the years, the farms have built an incredible tourism destination for the area, and to us, the beauty of the lavender farms is a perfect match for the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula,” he said. “Through our work with the association, The Workshop hopes to tell this story and increase the number of visitors to the farms and the area.”
To grow the event, he plans to tell the lavender story well, provide a high quality and consistent experience for visitors and make Sequim lavender farms a year-round destination.
He said the City of Sequim’s effort to unify the lavender message under one banner, Lavender Weekend, is brilliant and a great strategy.
Doxtater added that another goal is to create a strong partnership with all lavender growers and businesses in the area including national lavender growers.
Doxtater replaces Scott Nagel, former executive director, who officially left the association in September 2013.
Nagel served as director of the Sequim Lavender Festival and Sequim Lavender Farmers Association over a 10-year span before the farmers formed its own organization from the Sequim Lavender Growers Association.
Nagel said his time with the lavender industry was exciting until the unfortunate split between the organizations created tension and confusion.
“(It) did eventually lead to the creation of Sequim Lavender Weekend which is more inclusive of everything lavender,” he said.
However, Nagel said as new owners came into the association, its focus changed.
“It was clear they no longer needed a full-time executive to run their organization and its festival,” he said.
“While I love producing events, my real interest and skills are in building year-round organizations that have international impact and programs as was the case with Tour de Lavender and the Sequim Lavender Festival. Building the fast-growing Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival (in Port Angeles) now in its 14th year, with community and international support takes much of my focus and commitment.”
He said he’s proud of his time working on lavender particularly using the mostly unused James Center Reuse Park area and turning it into a prime festival location.
Nagel said wishes Doxtater, a former colleague of his, well.
The Sequim lavender movement began in 1995 when a group of passionate citizens and farmers sought to restore the agricultural heritage of the fertile Sequim-Dungeness Valley with something new.
Farmers said Doxtater and the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association are focusing on the Sequim lavender movement’s original vision, education and passion to help shape and drive the future direction of their summer-long events.
The Sequim Lavender Farmers Association is a Washington nonprofit organization with its board members featuring Cedarbrook Lavender, Jardin du Soleil Lavender, Lost Mountain Lavender, Olympic Lavender, Purple Haze Lavender and Washington Lavender.
For more information, visit www.sequimlavender.org or call 681-7532.