By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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“It seems like every year, I discover something new done with this stuff,” said the registered nurse from Shelton as she munched on the lavender-infused treat made by Popsies Popcorn and Candy of Oak Harbor.
Schwartz came across the popcorn at the Whidbey Island-based Just Toffee booth Saturday at the Sequim Lavender Festival Street Fair in downtown Sequim, organized by the Sequim Lavender Growers Association.
Meanwhile at Carrie Blake Park, the Lavender Arts & Crafts Fair in the Park, organized by the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association, also provided scores of vendors.
Both groups offer self-guided tours of lavender farms. Tickets must be purchased for the farmers association Heritage Lavender Farm Tour. Admission is free to the growers association's Sequim Lavender Festival Farm Tour.
Efforts by both groups add up to the 18th annual Sequim Lavender Weekend, which continues through today.
Schwartz said the soothing sights, sounds and smells of lavender fairs, festivals and farms were just what the doctor ordered Saturday after a particularly hard week at work.
“There's nothing like a good field of lavender after a stressful week,” she said.
The free growers association street fair includes more than 150 lavender, craft and food booths downtown, all filled with the wide-ranging musical acts of Lavenderstock on Fir Street between Sequim and Third avenues.
It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.
The free farmers association arts and crafts fair in Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave., will go from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and includes lavender booths, juried crafts, a wide array of food vendors, helicopter rides and more.
For recent California-to-Sequim transplant Naydu Pabst, the entire lavender weekend experience was new.
Pabst and neighbor Sherlee Polglase were strolling the lavender field of Martha Lane Lavender at 371 Martha Lane, one of the seven farms on the growers association tour.
“I wanted to show her what lavender and Sequim [are] all about,” said Polglase, a six-year veteran of the festival.
All tours require automobiles to get to farms; each farm offers parking.
Mother-daughter pair Jean and Andrea Birtwistle of Victoria were planning to make those drives Saturday and today after taking the MV Coho ferry from their home Friday.
“We're going to go to all the lavender farms, so hopefully we won't get lost,” Jean Birtwistle said Saturday.
The duo were perusing the gift shop at Lost Mountain Lavender Farm, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road, one of the stops on the farmers association tour.
They said they've always been fans of the aromatic purple plant that has become synonymous with Sequim.
“You can immerse yourself in lavender when you come here,” Andrea Birtwistle said.
The farmers association's Heritage Lavender Farm Tour takes visitors to five lavender farms around the valley: Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm, 3932 Sequim-Dungeness Way; Lost Mountain Lavender Farm; Olympic Lavender Heritage Farm, 1532 Marine Drive; Purple Haze Lavender Farm, 180 Bell Bottom Road; and Washington Lavender Farm, 965 Finn Hall Road.
Farms will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.
The Farm Tour farms require paid admission.
Visitors can purchase single-day passes at each farm, at the park fair or at the new Sequim Lavender Welcome Center at 7 Cedars casino, 270756 U.S. Highway 101, for $10 or three-day weekend passes for $25. Active-duty military tickets and children 12 and younger will be admitted for free.
The growers association's Sequim Lavender Festival Farm Tour features seven farms: Blackberry Forest, 136 Forrest Road; Graysmarsh Farm, 6187 Woodcock Road; Martha Lane Lavender; Nelson's Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Humble Hill Road; Oliver's Lavender Farm, 82 Cameron Acres Lane; Peninsula Nurseries, 1060 Sequim-Dungeness Way; and The Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road.
Farms will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today, and admission is free.
Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm at 274154 U.S. Highway 101 is open to the public but is not listed on either association's tour.
Here's where to see the PDN's and Sequim Gazette's Lavender Weekend guide, with hard copies available at Lavender Weekend venues: http://tinyurl.com/pdn-lav14.
The city's official Sequim Lavender Weekend website is at http://tinyurl.com/lavenderweekend.
The growers association website is at www.lavenderfestival.com.
The farmers association website is at www.sequimlavender.org.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.