Sometimes when an event is heavily publicized, it doesnt quite meet the expectations set for it.
That wasnt, however, the case for the 12th annual Sequim Lavender Festival July 18-20, according to Scott Nagel, festival executive director. The sun was shining but a cool breeze off the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the scent of lavender in the air kept visitors cool, calm and collected.
We had the highest attendance of locals ever seen and ticket sales were up over last year, Nagel said, estimating that between 25,000-30,000 people participated in the annual event. We dont have any final numbers yet but it was pretty fantastic, definitely one of the best weekends ever.
From an opening ceremony with gardening celebrity Ciscoe Morris Friday morning, to a closing dinner at Cedarbrook Garden Café Sunday evening, visitors from near and far had a chance to enjoy and experience the calming sensation of lavender. Community highlights included a three-day street fair, a quilt show, an art tour, a winery tour, live musical entertainment, a play, a reading and silent auction, a barn dance and more.
Within each farm on tour was a mini-festival, Nagel said, with vendors selling handmade and homemade products, a chance to meet the farmers and learn about lavender firsthand, U-pick lavender fields and demonstrations on how to cook using lavender.
People, including us, were worried about high gas prices and the economy but it didnt affect us at all, Nagel reported happily. We met people from all over the country and the world.
In fact, there were no problems to speak of, Nagel said. Traffic was backed up a little but there were no accidents and the weather was great, 65 degrees and sunny perfect festival weather. There were a few cases of lost keys and credit cards and a couple people fainted, but that was the worst of it.
The Sunday culinary tour and celebration dinner were so successful that both will become annual events, Nagel promised.
Lavender Festival had a distinct affect on downtown businesses. Applebees, on the west side of town, was particularly busy Thursday evening as guests arrived from out of town and Sunday morning as the same visitors made their way home, said manager John Canda.
Heather Creek, a small Washington Street business selling trendy home décor just a few blocks from the Lavender Festival street fair, offered extended hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday and were pleasantly rewarded, said manager Patty Dubner. We definitely had more foot traffic than usual.
The whole peninsula is a hot spot, Nagel said. People love coming here. The visitors I talked to were very complimentary of the Sequim area.
Nonetheless, the festival wouldnt be such a success without the more than 500 volunteers, farm owners and community members who donate their time, energy and money every year, Nagel said earnestly. Thank you.
Slideshows with Lavender Festival photos are available online at www.sequimgazette.com.
The eight lavender farms on tour and others located in and around the Sequim Dungeness Valley continue to be open to the public.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
For a complete company directory with contact information please click HERE.