“This is our first time on the Olympic Peninsula,” said one Seattle couple at Fleurish Lavender of Lost Mountain.
“We make an annual pilgrimage to Sequim usually as a group of girls,” an Everett woman at Lavender Connection said.
“It feels like France,” said one Lacey couple, while standing atop fields overlooking rows of lavender at Graysmarsh Farm.
For new and veteran lavender-goers and farmers, a sense of normalcy returned for most people at Sequim’s lavender farms following strict state guidelines for events during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
While concerns for the virus still loom, farmers found many visitors ventured to the area for the Sequim Lavender Weekend July 16-18 with a generally positive vibe.
“People seemed happier (than in 2020),” said Jeanette Bockelie, co-owner of Kitty B’s Lavender Farm. “They were happy to be here.”
Scott Nagel, spokesperson for Victor’s Lavender Farm and Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm, said the farms’ crowds returned to 2019 levels, possibly greater.
“Sequim Lavender Weekend celebrating all of the farms is a very strong brand,” he said. “I drove around to most of the farms and saw excellent attendance wherever I went.”
He said Victor Gonzalez’s farms do well typically on Lavender Weekend and maintained that even after making the switch to host music, workshops and more at the newer Rain Shadow Lavender Farm.
Nagel said they plan to build on their success by expanding next year and bring back the popular barn dance.
“In talking to visitors they were having a great time and I know they are going to return,” he said.
Zion Hilliker said his family’s B&B Family Lavender Farm was “crazy busy” over the weekend and through the summer so far.
“It’s busier than it’s ever been,” he said. “This was the best weekend ever in our eight years. It was an awesome turnout. Everyone was excited o be here.”
As to why the boom, Hilliker said it could be a combination of building up their farm’s name to the public after eight years, and/or due to people wanting to be outside post-Covid-19 regulations.
Either way, he doesn’t anticipate a slow down.
“It’s surpassed my wildest expectations,” Hilliker said.
With the boom, Hilliker said they’ve been able to hire extra help and plan for the future with possible expansions in the works.
While farmers harvest much of their lavender during its blooming season, many leave some plants untouched through the summer for people who want the U-cut experience, such as at Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm.
Most farms remain open through the summer with hours found on the Gazette’s website for this story, and at sequimlavenderweekend.com.
“(While) the Sequim Lavender Weekend is the highlight of the season, tourism will continue strong all summer for sure,” Nagel said.
The Sequim Lavender Festival’s Street Fair in Carrie Blake Community Park was cancelled because of COVID-19 for the second straight year.
Organizers shifted 2020 featured artist Julie Peterson to Kitty B’s Lavender Farm, and official festival product sales to Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm during the weekend though. Organizers look to bring back the event in 2022, they said.
For updates, visit lavenderfestival.com.
On Saturday, many travelers arrived late to Sequim after one of two ferries went out of service at the Kingston-Edmonds crossing due to a mechanical issue to the Walla Walla ferry, said Ian Sterling, a spokesperson for the Washington Department of Transportation. Wait times were upwards of five hours to cross, he said, prior to bringing in a ferry from the Bremerton/Seattle crossing.
Sterling said the wait time was unheard of for that crossing, but they were able to secure a generator part to bring Walla Walla ferry back into the schedule on Saturday night.
“We were lucky there were no big events like a Mariners game in Seattle,” he said.
Staff at the Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce/Visitor and Information Center, 1192 E. Washington St. crunched the number of visitors for Sequim Lavender Weekend and found quite the range.
Melanie Sands, the chamber’s finance and office manager, said 216 people signed the guest book inside from July 16-18. During the weekend last year, the center was closed due to the pandemic. In 2019, 784 people signed the guest book, and 975 in 2018.
Sands said more people could have visited the center than indicated because they left maps and information items on the center’s front porch.
Look for updates on the 2022 Sequim Lavender Weekend at www.sequimlavenderweekend.com.
Sequim lavender farms’ summer hours
• B&B Family Farm, 5883 Old Olympic Highway; open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.daily through Sept. 30. Contact: 360-504-2585, bbfamilyfarm.com
• Back to Dirt Farm, 258914 US Highway 101; open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Oct. 15 (Fridays-Sundays). Contact: 360-504-6070, backtodirtfarm.com
• Fat Cat Garden & Gifts, 21 Fat Cat Lane; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Contact: 360-681-6832, fatcat-lavender.com
• Fleurish Lavender of Lost Mountain, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Monday through Sept. 6. Contact: 360-681-2782, fleurishlavender.com
• Graysmarsh Farm, 6187 Woodcock Road; Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday through September. Contact: 360-683-5563, graysmarsh.com
• Jardin du Soleil Lavender, 3832 Sequim-Dungeness Way; Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in July; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday Aug.1-Sept. 30. Contact: 360-582-1185, jardindusoleil.com
• Kitty B’s Lavender Farm, 82 Cameron Acres Lane; closed for summer July 18. Contact: 360-772-2062, kittyblavenderfarm.com
• Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road; open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Monday through Sept. 6. Contact 360-681-6055, lavenderconnection.com
• Martha Lane Lavender, 371 Martha Lane; open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Contact: 425-577-0488, https://www.lavendulaherbalinc.com/
• Meli’s Lavender, 62 W. Diane Drive; open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, through Aug. 29. Contact: 360-461-9958, facebook.com/melislavender
• Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Humble Hill Road; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily in summer; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday. Contact: 360-681-7727, nelsonsduckpond.com
• Purple Haze Lavender Farm, 180 Bell Bottom Lane; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Labor Day. Downtown store, 127 W. Washington St., also available. Contact: 360-683-1714, purplehazelavender.com
• Rancho La Morada Lavender & Flower Farm, 1434 Marine Drive; open 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, through August. Contact: 360-461-7679, email@example.com
• Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm, 274154 U.S. Highway 101; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily Thursdays-Tuesdays. Contact: 360-683-6453, sunshinelavender.com
• Victor’s Lavender Farm, 3743 Old Olympic Highway; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through Aug. 30. Contact: 360-912-3938, victorslavender.com
• Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm, 1410 Kitchen-Dick Road; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through Aug. 30. Contact: 360-912-3938, rainshadowlavender.com
• Washington Lavender, 965 Finn Hall Road; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Sept. 6. Contact: 360-452-4877, walavender.com
For more about Sequim lavender farms, visit sequimlavenderweekend.com.