Where we live, summers are so brief that every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day is precious and absolutely crammed full with activity, which brings hard choices. Do we attend an outdoor concert or art fair? Do we visit friends at the lake or have a barbecue? Decisions, decisions!
Last year I finally attended a local lavender festival, something I’d wanted to do for years.
Although it’s a small one, meandering through booths filled with my favorite plant was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
We bought lavender honey (excellent on pancakes), soap (very pretty), and essential oil (just one deep breath makes me feel calmer). I also bought three small French lavender plants that I immediately planted in a sunny spot in our front yard.
Now, every day when I come home from work, I check to see if it’s ready to harvest.
I’m planning on making some drawer sachets and hanging some in our bedroom so that I can continue my love affair with lavender.
Lavender Festival 2014: Pennsylvania
First festivals first! The Pennsylvania Lavender Festival is this weekend, June 21-22, at the Willow Pond Farm in Fairfield, PA (about an hour southwest of Harriburg). It’s a farewell.
The year-round herb farm, which Tom and Madeline Wajda have been running for 20 years, is closing July 1st, as the couple moves to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
It must be quite a place to visit! “If I can’t get to the lavender fields of Provence, in France, Willow Pond Farm in Fairfield, Pa., will do just fine,” wrote Anne Raver in the New York Times a few years ago.
The painting below is a friend, the late Nancy Marshall, and called “The Little Red Tractor.”
Lavender Festival 2014: Oregon
Across the country, the Oregon Lavender Association’s Farm Finder lists more than 25 festivals and farms in the state with lavender events this summer.
While some of the farms appear to be holding festivals on July 12-13, others appear to be simply be open for visits and tours throughout the season, generally starting in late June.
One of them, Tebri Vineyards in Monroe (halfway between Eugene and Corvallis), caught my eye with this Lavender Labyrinth…
Lavender Festival 2014: Washington State
Sequim, Washington is sometimes called “Sunny Sequim” for it’s sunny skies and drier climate (surprising, given how close it is to rainy Seattle!). It’s a small and lovely city of less than ten thousand near the gorgeous Olympic Mountains — that looks north across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca towards Victoria Island (home of Canada’s Butchart Gardens).
The Sequim Lavender Festival (July 18-20) apparently started in the 1990s when a number of nearby farms began growing lavender.
On the eastern side of Washington is the Pend Oreille Valley Lavender Festival on July 12-13. It’s in Newport, Washington, 40 miles or so north of Spokane.
Like many of the lavender festivals, this one has a poster contest — and the 2014 winner is Barry Dumaw who created “Butterflies and Blooms”, an oil painting, part of which is shown below.
Lavender Festival 2014: New York
Another small city that’s lovely and looks out on water is Skaneateles. (My cousin lives nearby and pronounces it “Skinny Atlas”.)
It’s there, at the Lockwood Lavender Farm, that the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival will take place July 12-13.
About 45 minutes north of Skaneateles, that same weekend, will be the New York Lavender Festival, in Red Creek NY.
Lavender Festival 2014: California
Crossing the country again, this time to Northern California’s Wine Country, there’s the Sonoma Lavender Festival on June 28-29. The event is held at the Sonoma Lavender Barn in Kenwood, CA.
In Southern California, the city of Ojai is between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in an area surrounded by hills and mountains, and known for, among other things, organic farming. It’s also home to the Ojai Lavender Festival.
The festival takes place this year on Saturday, June 28th in downtown Libbey Park, named after the founder of the Libbey Glass Company, who fell in love with the area. Looking at the artwork below by Marsha MacDonald, used in the 2005 poster of the festival, it’s easy to see why people would fall in love with this part of the world!
Further north, in Paso Robles, is California’s Central Coast Lavender Festival on July 13th.
While many of these festivals feature musicians and entertainment, the Central Coast Festival’s gallery had this photo of a musician fiddling away.
Lavender Festival 2014: Midwest
In the Michigan countryside north of the Detroit Metro area is the Michigan Lavender Festival July 11-13th.
This is one my husband and I enjoyed visiting last year, in 2013. Many of these festivals have booths, and we enjoyed them at this festival — from food booths and health & wellness booths to artisan booths and gardening booths. It was a gardening booth where I bought the three lavender plants now starting to bloom in our front yard.
In Ohio this weekend, halfway between Cincinnati and Columbus, is the Summer Solstice Lavender Festival.
It takes place June 21-22 at the Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm in Martinsville, OH. This seems to be a festival with an higher than typical number of activities — and the only one with a “sub-atomic gong” for meditating!
Lavender Festival 2014: Southwest
In southern areas, some lavender festivals have already taken place, like the Blanco Lavender Festival in Texas, not far from San Antonio and Austin.
But the Arizona Lavender Festival is going on for two long weekends — June 19-22 and June 26-29. It’s at the Red Rock Ranch in Concho, AZ, which is more or less the same distance (and in between) Flagstaff, Tucson, Phoenix, and Albuquerque.
In western Colorado, the Colorado Lavender Festival in downtown Palisade is about a 4-drive from either Denver or Salt Lake City. This one takes place July 11-13. The drive there from any direction must be stunning!
Lavender Festivals Around the World
That’s it for lavender festivals we know about in the U.S. You can always check out lavender farms near you to visit. Here’s a U.S. Lavender Farm List with farms listed state by state.
There are probably many, many festivals abroad. Here are a few we’re aware of. Some in the southern hemisphere are done for the year, while others are taking place this summer in the northern hemisphere.
On Vancouver Island in Canada is the Damali Lavenderfest on July 26th. It’s at the Damali Farms, not far from the famed Butchart Gardens.
It’s over for the year, having taken place in Australia’s summer this past January — the festival at the Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm.
Finally, it’s hard to imagine a lavender festival without thinking of the many famous images of lavender fields in Provence, France. While it seems there are more farms and places to visit, we did find out about a lavender festival in the town of Sault in southeastern France on August 15th, 2014.
If you love art, this would be something to see. There will be artists there, exhibiting their work — just a 90-minute drive from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where Vincent Van Gogh lived at the end of his life.
Know a great lavender festival I missed? Head over to our Bombay Outdoors Facebook Page and post a comment and photo!