SEQUIM — Take it slow and easy. This weekend gives you the reasons.
An orchestra of lavender farms. Pick-your-own herbal bundles. Reggae music. And, let’s face it, slow-moving automobiles. Now through Sunday, you’ll enjoy life in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley more if you embrace the mellow.
“We have lots of places to sit,” said Susan Olson, whose family has run the Lavender Connection out on Cays Road for 14 years now.
Her farm, like many in this valley, grows dozens of lavender varieties. Visitors can walk into the field and pick a bouquet of pale pink, medium purple and dark purple boughs. They can shop in the boutique — or simply sit and breathe.
“Try one of the bigger farms, try one of the smaller you-pick farms, and try the Street Fair,” advised Jordan Schiefen, co-owner of Jardin du Soleil Lavender on Sequim-Dungeness Way. Jardin is one of the places holding a mini-festival with live music, food vendors and activities included in the $10 admission fee.
Then there’s the free Sequim Lavender Street Fair in Carrie Blake Park, a lavish convergence of plants, products, food and drink — all with a live-music soundtrack.
Key advice comes from Chelsea Hodgson of the State Patrol. In a news release, Hodgson noted the state Department of Transportation’s estimate of 24,600 vehicles traveling per day this weekend in the Sequim area on U.S. Highway 101. That’s 3,000 more than usual.
“Pack some extra patience,” Hodgson wrote. Drivers should “consider going early … provide plenty of time to reach their destinations and expect delays.”
“Sequim Lavender Weekend” programs, with information about activities, music and food at various farms — and details on numerous other events in and near Sequim — can be found at participating farms and venues. Information also awaits at http://visitsunnysequim.com.
An online search will lead to websites for the farms themselves.
Farmers in these parts prepare all year for this day.
For Jill Pinder at Earth Muffin Lavender, a small operation on Woodcock Road, it’s all about the welcome.
“I just look forward to seeing the people,” she said.
Across the valley, signs guide you to farms where live music, food, beverages, products — and that simple pleasure, the lavender bundle you pick yourself — await. Most charge no admission. A few have entrance fees to cover their mini-festivals.
• B&B Lavender, 5883 Old Olympic Highway.
• Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road.
• Lost Mountain Lavender, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road.
• Martha Lane Lavender, 371 Martha Lane.
• Sunshine Herb & Lavender, 274154 U.S. Highway 101.
• Victor’s Lavender, 3743 Old Olympic Highway.
• Washington Lavender, 965 Finn Hall Road.
• Blackberry Forest, 136 Forrest Road.
• Earth Muffin Lavender, 2333 Woodcock Road.
• Fat Cat Garden & Gifts, 21 Fat Cat Lane.
• Graysmarsh Farm, 6187 Woodcock Road.
• Kitty B’s Lavender, 82 Cameron Acres Lane.
• Meli’s Lavender, 62 W. Diane Drive.
• Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender, 73 Humble Hill Road.
• Peninsula Nursery, 1060 Sequim-Dungeness Way.
• Troll Haven, 950 Gardiner Beach Road.
Farms with fees for their mini-festivals this weekend:
• Purple Haze, 180 Bell Bottom Road, $18 for the whole weekend; children 12 and younger free.
• Jardin du Soleil Lavender, 3932 Sequim-Dungeness Way, and Olympic Lavender, 1526 Marine Drive, $10 for both farms all weekend; 12 and younger free.
• Victor’s Barn Dance brings the band Joy in Mudville to Victor’s Lavender Farm tonight from 7 to 10 at Victor’s Lavender Farm, 3743 Old Olympic Highway. Free.
• The Sequim Lavender Street Fair, with more than 150 craft and lavender booths, a 14-vendor food court and live music, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave. Free admission.
• LavenderStock, the weekend’s free music festival, brings live music and dancing to the James Center for the Performing Arts, 500 N. Blake Ave., from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
• 11 a.m. Opening ceremonies with bagpiping, Dr. Mac and Odin Kalalau.
• 11:30 a.m. The Crocs’ rock, reggae and blues.
• 12:45 p.m. Kate Powers and David Rivers’ bluegrass, Irish, Scottish.
• 2 p.m. Cort Armstrong and Jim Faddis’ country and rootsy twang.
• 3:15 p.m. Caribe Steel Band’s calypso, reggae, samba.
• 5 p.m. Olympic Express Big Band dinner dance.
• 11 a.m. Nightingale’s folk, country and gospel.
• 12:15 p.m. Stringology’s acoustic jazz.
• 1:30 p.m. Joy in Mudville’s blues, rock, funk.
• 2:45 p.m. Larry Murante’s folk rock.
• 4 p.m. Sequimarimba’s rhythms.
• 5:30 p.m. Seastar’s Celtic folk.
• 7 p.m. Street dance with the Black Diamond Junction band.
• 11 a.m. Larry Murante.
• 12:15 p.m. Trillium- 239’s acoustic music.
• 1:30 p.m. Olson Family’s country and rock.
• 2:45 p.m. WhatEverly Brothers’ humor and harmonies.
• 4 p.m. Free Rangers’ American music.
Festival Fun for Kids
This tumbles into Carrie Blake Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Sunday. Daily activities include:
• 9 a.m. “Get fit” youth workout.
• 10 a.m. Make-and-take button and bead projects.
• 11 a.m. Obstacle course.
• Noon: Photo scavenger hunt.
• 1 p.m. Make-and-take button and bead projects.
• 2 p.m. Quick golf in the park.
• 3 p.m. Minute-to-win-it individual challenges.
• 4 p.m. Dance party and karaoke.
Local venues, restaurants, wineries and galleries also join in the lavender weekend. A sampling of their activities:
• The Cedars at Dungeness holds a charity golf tournament Saturday. For information see olympic christian.org/.
• The Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Show, also at Sequim Middle School, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; $5 admission.
• The Sequim Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday in the Sequim Civic Center Plaza, 152 W. Cedar St.
The in-city shuttle bus transports passengers from the Sequim High School parking lot on North Sequim Avenue to Carrie Blake Park, downtown Sequim, the quilt and driftwood shows at Sequim Middle School and the Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
All participating farms have ample parking.
Also through the weekend, two shuttles pick up passengers at the corner of Blake Avenue and Fir Street in Sequim and take them to three farms: Purple Haze Lavender, Jardin du Soleil and Olympic Lavender.
Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.