By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Meet in Seattle, drive to the North Olympic Peninsula and head straight to the lavender fields.
“It's become a bit of a tradition now,” said Tanya Perkins of Las Vegas on Saturday as she partook of festivities during the three-day Sequim Lavender Weekend.
“It's just such a great feeling being out here.”
Perkins was bundling up lavender in the Purple Haze field while her friend Arastede Hairston of Yakima plucked it fresh off the plants.
Frances Dubois of Renton, the third of the group of friends, was relaxing by the Purple Haze barn.
“I'll let them keep picking and enjoy this shady spot,” Dubois said.
Thousands braved the clogged U.S. Highway 101 for the 17th year of lavender celebration to delight in the dozens of varieties that are perfectly bloomed in the Dungeness Valley this weekend.
Another trio of gal pals made up special duds to hit the weekend's farm tours and two festivals.
“We're all handmade,” said Harriet Gilmore, who splits her time between Sequim and Arizona.
Gilmore and friends Terry Koening and Cindy Miller, both from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., were wearing matching lavender-colored crocheted hats and knit scarves at Carrie Blake Park on Friday morning for the opening ceremonies of the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association's Lavender Arts & Crafts Farm Faire.
Lavender garb is in vogue this time of year throughout the valley, as witnessed by the blouse worn by Vanessa Sampoang as she shopped for fresh lavender products at the Lavender Growers Association's Lavender Festival in downtown Sequim.
Sampoang made the trip from Hawaii to revel in the sights and smells of Sequim's trademark purple plant.
“I just hope the airline lets me take it all back with me,” she said while her friends sniffed fresh bars of soap inside the LetsDoLavender.com tent.
The two festivals offer hundreds of vendors selling a wide variety of lavender-infused products, from soaps, oils and beauty creams to ice cream, lattes and wine.
The festival continues today.
Both the growers association's Sequim Lavender Festival on Fir Street and the farmers association's Lavender Arts & Crafts Farm Faire in Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Each has a full slate of live music set to play until closing.
Tours of the farms in each association also continue through today.
The farmers' Lavender Farm Faire Heritage Farm Tour of six farms will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tickets are $15, $10 for active military and free for children 12 and younger.
Farms on the tour are Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm at 3932 Sequim-Dungeness Way, Lost Mountain Lavender at 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road, Olympic Lavender Farm at 1432 Marine Drive, Purple Haze Lavender Farm at 180 Bell Bottom Road, Victor's Lavender Farm & Nursery at 3743 Old Olympic Highway and Washington Lavender, 965 Finn Hall Road.
All have tour tickets for sale.
The self-guided free growers' tour is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today.
It includes Blackberry Forest at 136 Forest Road, Martha Lane Lavender at 371 Martha Lane, Nelson's Duckpond & Lavender Farm at 73 Humble Hill Road, Oliver's Lavender Farm at 82 Cameron Acres Lane, Peninsula Nurseries at 1210 Cays Road, Graysmarsh Berry Farm at 6187 Woodcock Road and The Lavender Connection at 1141 Cays Road.
The city has designated the activities of both the farmers and growers associations as Sequim Lavender Weekend at http://tinyurl.com/lavenderweekend.
The farmers association website is at www.sequimlavenderfarmersassociation.org.
The growers association website is at www.lavenderfestival.com.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.