The Annual Lavender Festival
Sequim Washington is known as the lavender capital of North America. Each summer they celebrate with the lavender festival. It is an event held over three days in July. There are several farms you can visit, and they also have a street fair with entertainment, food, and many products to buy. I have visited the festival twice and enjoyed it very much.
The Olympic Peninsula area has an ideal climate for growing lavender, and has some similarities to Provence in France. Sequim's lavender is well known for its excellent quality and wonderful fragrance. This particular area of Washington has a dry climate, with plenty of sunshine, which makes it ideal for growing lavender. Summers are usually quite warm, although extreme heat is unusual.
This article will give an overview of the festival and what visitors can expect. Images here are all my own.
Location of Sequim
About the Festival
Sequim is located between the towns of Port Townsend and Port Angeles, at the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. If you have time, Port Townsend is also worth visiting. This quaint town is known for its Victorian homes, galleries and other shops, and lovely scenery.
It takes about two hours to drive from Seattle to Sequim. If you are coming from Vancouver Island, you can get there by taking the Coho Ferry from downtown Victoria. It's about a twenty minute drive from the ferry terminal in Port Angeles to Sequim. The festival has been held for nearly twenty years, and it remains very popular. Reservations are suggested if you plan to stay overnight, as there isn't a lot of accommodation in Sequim. Port Townsend is also a popular destination, and it's hard to find somewhere to stay unless you book well ahead. Port Angeles offers a lot of hotels and motels and generally is not as crowded.
When you arrive at Sequim, you will be able to visit lavender farms and take a self guided tour. There is no charge for visiting the farms or the fair. There is quite a bit of parking, although it is usually very busy later in the day. The earlier you go, the better your chances are of avoiding large crowds.
Each farm has rows and rows of beautiful lavender. They also offer food and beverages, and a variety of entertainment. Food with lavender, such as ice cream, cakes and lemonade are available. It is absolutely delicious in a dessert or added to lemonade. Fresh lavender is for sale, and most farms have other products available for purchase, such as soaps, body washes, and so on.
Farmers explain how they cultivate their harvests and use the lavender. It takes a lot of lavender to make just one ounce of the oil. The demonstrations are very interesting to watch.
Visiting the Sequim Lavender Farms
As previously mentioned, six farms are available to tour. I found that going to three in one day was enough. In this way, we had plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy a drink of lemonade or other snack, and listen to the live entertainment. One place featured live classical music and another one had country music. It was a lot of fun.
You can spend as much time as you like at a farm, and it's lovely to just walk around between the rows of lavender, and of course, take plenty of photos.
There used to be buses that went to the farms, but that has been discontinued. Maps are available at the visitor's center at the fair, and large signs that can't be missed will also help you find your way around. The farms are several miles apart, and you travel along country roads to get there. It's a very pleasant drive and a pretty area.
The Street Fair
If you are looking for gifts made with lavender, the street fair is the place to be. You can find crafts, soaps, personal care products, art work, and more here. There also is a lot of food available. Free entertainment is provided and there is lots of seating, although it's very busy later in the day.
If you would rather eat in a restaurant, the Alderwood Bistro it just outside the fair. I have eaten here twice, and found the food and service to be excellent. Entree prices are around $18 to $20. It is also a busy place, but if you go early enough, you should be able to get a table without a reservation.
There are many other restaurant choices. Sequim is a small city with a population of about 7,000, although they have an impressive selection for a community of its size. The Dockside Grill is located on scenic Sequim Bay, and is a favorite spot for locals to dine.
Pets are allowed on a leash at the street fair, but not at the farms, Pet sitting is available. Since this event takes place in July and it can ge quite hot, pets should never be left in a car.
Sequim takes pride in their festival, and with good reason. The area is very scenic, and the lavender fields are breathtaking to see. It is a very fun event and is something the entire family can enjoy.