Sweet. Spicy. Effervescently purple.
Yes, I am describing lavender, and yes, you can find lots of the native Californian plant in the Ojai Valley. This past weekend was the 2014 Ojai Valley Lavender Festival.
Ojai is the kind of place where the parking is easy. On Saturday, June 28th, over one hundred vendors offered both lavender and non-lavender goods in Ojai’s Libbey Park this year offering seeable, edible, and smell-able treats such as lavender sugar scrubs, lavender lemonade fudge, and lavender macaroons.
The Lavender Craft Garden was my favorite activity. Smack dab in the center of the festival were a couple of oriental rugs and blankets under a bundle of shady trees. Bordering the blankets were tables with baskets, vintage lace, paper doilies, roses, geranium leaves, rosemary, and—of course—fresh lavender. Women from the organic I Love Lavender Farm (of Ojai, naturally) helped participants make lavender wands, lavender sachets, and (not really very) technical “tussy-mussies” out of said materials for $5-15. I was one hundred percent in love with my gorgeous tussy-mussie basket! It still smells heavenly.
As Libbey Park is conveniently situated in the center of Ojai, surrounding businesses on Ojai Avenue sold Lavender treats throughout the festival, too. lavender margaritas, lavender martinis, lavender panna cotta, lavender honey cocktails, and lavender lemon bars—do those sound delicious or what? The only problem was that most business in Ojai close at around three for lunch and re-open around five or six for dinner, meaning that while I was walking around, a bunch of these shops were closed. I was luckily able to taste a lavender lemon martini at Boccali’s Pizza and Pasta. It was the perfect balance of boozy and sweet.
While the Lavender Festival is finished for 2014, if you would like to make an easy day-trip to Ojai from L.A. proper for the festival next year, I’d highly recommend the trip if you’re looking for an easy-going, scenic, and family-friendly day.
~Photos and Text by Sarah