Blanco Lavender Festival
Fragrant entertainment is to be had at Blanco's Lavender Festival
By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., June 13, 2008
The Texas Hill Country's geographical resemblance to the South of France is responsible for the amazing growth of two agricultural industries long associated with the storied province of Provence – wine grapes, starting in the late Seventies, and just before the turn of this century, lavender. In less than 10 years, the business of lavender has blossomed handsomely in Texas, especially in the area around Blanco. Lavender farmers and the savvy Chamber of Commerce recognized the business and agritourism potential in the fragrant fields early on and set out to capitalize on their area's newest attraction. The annual Blanco Lavender Festival was founded in 2005 to celebrate the blooming crop, and area farmer Charley Pemberton registered the trademark Lavender Capital of Texas and bestowed it on the city of Blanco in 2007. Every year, Blanco invites guests to savor a two-day program that is fragrant, informative, tasty, and fun.
Eight lavender farms in the Blanco area will welcome the public with tours, and each destination will offer its own distinctive attractions – some stops will offer pick-your-own lavender options; other farms will sell lavender plants, skin-care and aromatherapy products, essential oils, or foods and drinks.
On the historic Courthouse Square in downtown Blanco, farmers, artisans, craftspeople, and food and drink vendors will present the two-day Lavender Market. The Texas Department of Agriculture will set up two tents: the Go Texan wine tent, featuring Texas winemakers and wines by the glass and the bottle, and the Go Texan gourmet food tent, offering samples of artisan foods from around the state. Craft-brewed ales from Blanco's own Real Ale Brewing Co. will be available along with beers from other Texas microbreweries. The free Speakers' Pavilion will be located upstairs in the courthouse, with experts discussing a variety of lavender-related topics, including gardening, decorating, and cooking with the aromatic herb. Blanco lavender industry pioneer Jeannie Ralston will speak and sign copies of her new book, The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming (Broadway Books, $23.95). (See the "Day Trips" profile of Ralston, June 6.) For a full schedule of speakers and a list of participating farms with maps, see www.blancolavenderfest.com or call the Blanco Chamber of Commerce at 830/833-5101. Saturday-Sunday, June 14-15, 9am-5pm.