SEQUIM — Fir Street construction, planned to begin in July, will prompt the move of the Sequim Lavender Festival street fair this year.
This year marks the 22nd year for the street fair run by the Sequim Lavender Growers Association during Sequim Lavender Weekend from July 20-22.
The Fir Street project will cost the city between $4.5 million and $5 million. The 18-month-long project will widen the street, add bike lanes, upgrade sidewalks and curbs, add a traffic light at the intersection with Fifth Avenue and move utility poles underground.
Colleen Robinson, assistant executive director for the lavender festival, said the group has confirmed it will move the fair, its 100-plus vendors and live music, to Carrie Blake Community Park next to the Albert Haller Playfields and James Center for Performing Arts.
“We’re excited for the new opportunity,” Robinson said. “We let vendors know last year this may be a possibility. It’ll be the same great festival and great experience we’ve always had.”
Robinson said the group considered other options in downtown Sequim but felt issues with parking became greater so “by process of elimination, Carrie Blake Park was the front runner.”
During the weekend, vendors will set up along the new one-way road between the bridge by the pond and the bandshell, which will host all the festival’s performers.
The park was used for two summers in recent years by the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association — which split off from the Sequim Lavender Growers Association — for its Sequim Lavender Farm Faire before opting to focus on individual events at each farm.
Robinson said the fact that the venue was used before for a similar event is a non-issue.
“We’ve moved so far past that scenario that most people don’t remember the details behind that,” she said.
“They just want to have fun and enjoy lavender.”
Robinson said her concern is the potential impact on downtown businesses as the event moves east.
“As a part of the downtown merchants group, I want to know the impact on the inner city of Sequim,” she said.
City Engineer Matt Klontz said with construction likely beginning in July and running 18 months, the festival might have to move for two summers.
Robinson said officials haven’t discussed 2019 and are still determining details for this summer.
She said despite the move, there will still be a shuttle coming to and from the Street Fair from as far away as JC Penney and through the city.
For more information on the Sequim Lavender Festival, visit www.lavenderfestival.com.
Matthew Nash and Erin Hawkins are reporters with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected]. Reach her at [email protected].