2015 Lavender Festival

I managed to hit three of the many lavender farms this last weekend during the 2015 Sequim Lavender Weekend held on July 17-19. The weather was exceptionally hot all three days, hitting the low 90’s and making the festival more like it was being held in Southern California then on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The hot weather we have been having the last couple of months really turned the lavender on and the farms were in great shape with the lavender in full bloom along with various flowers and accompanying crops that contrast that lovely purple color.

I started at the Purple Haze lavender farm, the original and one of the best in the valley in my opinion. When I worked for Clallam County road department back in the early ’90’s I first met Mike Reichner. Back then he worked as a Washington State Park Ranger at the Sequim Bay State Park east of Sequim. He decided to do something different at the time. Mike and his wife Roz opened the Purple Haze lavender farm off Sequim Bay road in 1996. It was a risky proposition at the time that paid dividends over the last 19 years. He was followed by several other lavender farmers who put together the annual Sequim Lavender Festival. Along with the Sequim Irrigation Festival, the oldest continuous festival in Washington State, the two festivals put little Sequim on the map for tourist designations on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Purple Haze is 12 acres of color and aroma! Its rolling hills with its gift shop at the top of the hill and the lavender fields spread out below, showcasing 15,000 English, French, Spanish lavender plants, boasting 50 varieties. Mike and Roz have done it right from the very beginning. That is why I like to start my photo quest at their farm.

During the festival many different vendors find their way to Purple Haze to entice visitors with all manner of food, beverages, arts and crafts. My videography professor Renne Brock-Richmond takes off her college professor hat and dons the art teacher one and shares her multicolored, hand-painted (and invites you to participate and paint your own) linen and silk fabrics (see photos).

Mike and Roz have built a bandstand that different musicians take turns performing in during the festival. Our friends, the Straight Shots band from the Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County benefit Wine Festival were there when I visited. They were cranking out that great old rock and roll in the early afternoon. They were as hot as the weather. Great local band!

I spent about two hours checking out the lavender, flowers, vendors and friends I ran into there before moving on to the Jardin du Soleil lavender farm.

Jardin du Soleil lavender farm is currently owned by Paul and Jordan Schiefen. It has changed hands at least a couple of times since the first lavender was planted on its 10 acres of rolling hills back in 1999. It is a certified organic lavender farm and one that I like to shoot each year.

I ran into one of my old friend’s two daughters, Becky and Stephanie Reed manning a booth on the grounds. Again, different vendors from food and beverage, to arts and crafts find their way to various lavender farms to sell their products during this festival. It is all part of the festival and it’s great to see so many coming from all over the state to participate.

I had another engagement in the early evening at Olympic Cellars Winery to see Fat Chance, so I only spent about an hour checking out the farm before moving on to the last one of the day …. George Washington Inn lavender.

I was unaware of the events scheduled for the day, but was pleasantly surprised that my timing visiting George Washington Inn was right on! They had a re-enactment of the battle of Lexington Green with period costumes, both Colonial and British, along with real muskets and cannons firing volley after volley at each other! Great entertainment! The smoke and sulfur smell of gun powder hung in the air for quite some time after the battle.

George Washington Inn is an actual replica of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s house. It is a top notch Bed and Breakfast, sitting atop a bluff over-looking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It also is situated on 10 acres, which part is a lavender farm. It has a long, long driveway lined with wildflowers and lavender. They had an encampment of both the Colonial armies, as well as the British that allowed visitors to see up close and personal how these armies lived during the Revolutionary war in the late 1700’s. I wish I could have spent more time there but had to make my way back home to get ready for the benefit at Olympic Cellars. But it was a great day! Scorching hot, but I had a great time visiting these three fields. It would have been easy to spend all three days to see all the fields that are out there. And I didn’t think about trying to go the Street Fair! Well maybe next year!

Check out some of the images I shot in the galleries at the right. Hope you enjoy! I did!

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