Sequim (pronounced more like “squid” than “sequin”) is serious about its lavender. When I first decided to attend the Sequim Lavender Festival, I had no idea how central lavender is to the town’s identity. I didn’t know much about it at all, actually.
Sequim is located on the Olympic peninsula of Washington, and lies within the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains, which makes it much drier than the surrounding areas. They bill themselves as “sunny Sequim,” but I’ll have to take their word for it as it was overcast and threatening rain the day I visited. What was immediately evident was the town’s pride in their lavender. Lavender shrubs were everywhere, even growing in the landscaping of Sequim gas stations!
The Sequim Lavender Festival takes place in July, and activities are spread throughout the town, marked at their entrances by purple flags. There are two non-farm locations, one in downtown and one in Carrie Blake Park; I parked in a church lot near the park location for a nominal fee. They offered a shuttle and a hayride to Carrie Blake Park, but it’s an easy walk. From Carrie Blake Park, they have a free shuttle running back and forth between the downtown location, and one of the farms also offered a free shuttle from that location. Each place had their own spin on the festival; most offered live music, shopping, and food items with culinary lavender. Some offer u-pick lavender, some offer classes on distillation, crafting, cooking, beekeeping, and more. One offers high tea with George Washington!
This festival is incredible, both in scope and in quality. The farms and craftspeople are proud of their work and happy to show off to visitors, everything smells amazing, and I was in lavender food heaven. I wasn’t able to try everything I wanted to try, owing to limited stomach capacity, but everything I did try was so, so delicious. Peach lavender ice cream. Candied lavender walnuts. Piping hot mini donuts with lavender sugar. Dungeness crab cakes and greens with lavender balsamic vinaigrette. Lavender sweet tea. A warm from the oven apple mini pie. A soft lavender sugar cookie. I may have proclaimed it the fattest day of my life.