Each person is different but the love remains the same for Sequim lavender.
Thousands of people filled the streets and farms for Sequim Lavender Weekend July 18-20, which included the Sequim Lavender Festival and Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair.
Whether people are cutting lavender for the first time or are long-time returning enthusiasts, lavender continues to compel people in many ways.
Desiree Barrett of Port Orchard has come to Sequim’s Oliver’s Lavender Farm since 2007 with her daughters Emily and Mary Beth. In that time they’ve become friends with the Oliver family and it’s become such a tradition to visit each festival that Mary Beth said she trims the same small lavender bush each year to make a bundle.
Mattie Stone, 11, traveled from Egypt to see family here and what Sequim’s lavender was all about.
At Blackberry Forest lavender farm she said that for two years she’s been in Egypt and is readying to move to South Africa because her step-father is United States diplomat.
Mattie liked the lavender a lot and took her time picking a bush to make a bundle from but settled on one with a lot of flowers and long stems. She named it Jamie so it could be a boy or girl.
Fellow 11-year-old Rylie Hough of Port Angeles didn’t travel as far for the farm tour but really enjoyed making sachets with her dad Sam at Olympic Lavender Heritage Farm.
“I really like the smell,” she said. “You can be blindfolded and know you are on a lavender farm.”
Feedback from the farms
The moderate weather didn’t deter crowds or good spirits said Paul Jendrucko, spokesperson for the Sequim Lavender Festival.
“The sun was partially out and it allowed people to walk around more comfortably,” he said.
“It was good for us. We’ve had sweltering festivals where people have fainted.”
The word on the street from the Lavender Festival’s free farm tours and Street Fair’s artists, food court and musicians was it was the “best ever,” Jendrucko said.
“The whole thing was the best festival in history. Farms reported their attendance, sales and satisfaction was the greatest ever since they’ve been farmers.”
As for the flow, Jendrucko said sales on Friday and Saturday for the most part Sunday were even.
“There were no lows,” he said. “It was continuous.”
Mike Reichner, co-owner of Purple Haze Lavender Farm, said their Friday may have been their biggest in 18 years doing the paid admission farm tour.
“The weather has been nice and we have the history to bring people back every year, and we’re just known for our party,” he said.
“We tweak and refine things every year and Purple Haze has always been a party atmosphere and that won’t be changing anytime soon.”
From the city’s perspective
Sequim Police Chief Bill Dickinson said Sequim Lavender Weekend was a routine event for city law enforcement.
“There was the usual stuff with shoplifters, parking things, a vehicle collision but that’s stuff that happens routinely,” he said. “It was pretty much status quo.”
The City of Sequim continued Sequim Lavender Weekend for a third year to consolidate information about the two festivals to eliminate confusion between free and paid admission tours and events.
“For the most part, people have had a better idea of what to expect,” said Barbara Hanna, Sequim Communications and Marketing Director.
She said any confusion by visitors about what event costs money wasn’t a big issue.
“We’ve been able to make that more clear,” she said. “There weren’t a lot of surprises.”
Shelli Robb-Kahler, executive director for the Sequim Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the weekend seemed consistently busy and they sold a lot of Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair tickets at the chamber.
“If we factor in who we sent out there (to other sites), we saw about the same amount of traffic in 2013,” Robb-Kahler said.
“Even though it wasn’t hot and sunny, people seemed pleased,” she said.