Volunteers pitch in to help Sequim festivals

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Days after moving here in July 2010, Melissa Murray found herself steeped in purple herbs and other volunteers. Now, she’s the Lavender Farmers Association staffer coordinating 130 volunteers for 277 slots during the Lavender Farm Faire.

The faire, along with the Sequim Lavender Growers Association’s Lavender Festival, constitutes the annual Lavender Weekend today through Sunday.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to stroll through lavender fields, shop the Street Fair and Arts & Crafts Faire, and form their impressions of Sequim.

“People think this is just [lavender] farmers making money for themselves,” Murray said, “but it’s a huge community event” to promote the Dungeness Valley as an agritourism destination.

“Farming is our community,” added Murray, “whether it’s lavender or Graysmarsh,” a farm famed for its berries, “or the scenery as people drive around.”

And when visitors set foot on a lavender farm this weekend, the people they interact with will, naturally, determine the kind of memories they have.

“The volunteers make it work,” Murray said of the Lavender Farm Faire.

The growers association, in contrast, has “about 15” official volunteers, said member Amy Lundstrom.

She’s co-owner of Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender, one of the six farms on the growers association’s free tour.

The growers hire the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula to staff the Fir Street Fair, a showcase of local food, music and lavender products. Most volunteers help out there, offering maps and information to visitors.

As for the growers association’s farms, they rely mostly on family and friends to help during Lavender Weekend.

“I have all my brothers and sisters here,” Lundstrom said.

She and her husband, Jeff, bought Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender from her parents, Harry and Gail Nelson, four years ago; the place has been in her family since 1972.

“We’re second generation, going on third,” Lundstrom said, since she has two daughters, age 17 and 8. “We’re hoping they will take over.”

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 18. 2013 6:22PM
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