Purple Power Helps Festival Make For A Strong Second Year
By Betsy McLaughlin
Although we’re just getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, has anyone done any Christmas shopping yet? If not, maybe you should give a few minutes this next weekend, July 6 – 8, to browse through the vendor booths at the 2nd Annual Colorado Lavender Festival. There will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 or 40 vendor booths set up under the shady canopy of cottonwoods at the Veterans Memorial Community Center Park all day on Saturday, with other activities slated for Friday and Sunday.
According to Kathy Kimbrough, president of the Festival committee, vendors will be selling everything from ‘soap to nuts’, including lavender infused jams, jellies and honey, cosmetics and body care products, cleaning products, home décor items, gardening supplies and lavender starts and all types of lavender-related gift items. Coming from all over the Grand Valley, Olathe, Paonia, Mack, Montrose, Glenwood Springs and from as far away as Longmont, there will be vendors, educators, craftspeople, culinary experts and specialists in gardening with lavender.
Workshops are scheduled throughout the day on Saturday on such topics as “Cooking with Lavender”, wreath and wand making, growing and landscaping with lavender and “Happy Household Herbs and Aromatherapy”.
There are scheduled guided tours to area lavender growers on Friday including a ‘lavender lunch’, and 75 percent of the tickets have already been sold. If interested, please visit www.coloradolavenderfestival.com to register. Seats are going fast! Self-guided tours on Sunday will allow interested visitors to see more at their own pace. There are 11 stops on the self-guided tour and planned activities, music, food and demonstrations throughout the day at the different growers’ locations.
Judging from the success of last year’s Festival with over 3,000 attendees, Kimbrough hopes to see even bigger attendance numbers this year.
One of the important features of the Festival is its location, being held in town at Community Center Park instead of down the hill in Riverbend Park, where the Peach and Wine Festivals are now held. It keeps a more small town atmosphere, according to Carol Mueller, Palisade’s Lavender Lady, allowing visitors easy access to downtown from the Festival.
Lavender has really come into its own over the last few years. As more growers have realized the potential commercially, lavender crops have been popping up all over. The elevation and moisture characteristics of the Western Slope make it a particularly good locale for growing varieties of lavender from which high-grade medicinal oil is extracted.
There are two common types of lavender used for oil production, Lavandula angustifolia which is low in camphor and used more for culinary purposes, and Lavandula x intermedia, high in camphor and used more in cleaning products, medicinals, candles, soap and cosmetics. The calming effects of lavender are well known and it is also a natural antiseptic. Culinary lavender is used to flavor many types of recipes, both sweet and savory, and is also used in vinegars and oil/herb blends. Dried lavender is also used in making wreaths and other items of decoration.
Make room on your calendar for a visit this year’s Colorado Lavender Festival, next weekend, July 6-8. See the above website or check with The Lavender Lady for more details.