The 16th Annual Lavender Festival will be held on Saturday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Oak Ridge’s Historic Jackson Square. This herb fair is a perennial favorite of folks from all around and focuses on all that is fresh, healthy, and good for the body and soul.
The Lavender Festival transforms Jackson Square into a hub of activity, information, fun, and of course, lavender. More than 100 vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations will offer products and information related to gardening, cooking, health, aromatherapy, and all things herbal.
“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Betsy Prine of Knoxville, who has attended the festival for about five years. “I love gardening. I love to see so many vendors together, and I love that it’s all natural.”
The Lavender Festival doesn’t just celebrate lavender. It also features the International Herb Association’s “Herb of the Year,” which this year is Artemisia. Artemesia isn’t just one herb, but a species which includes Tarragon, Mugwort, Wormwood, and Sweet Annie. Gardeners, cooks, and nature enthusiasts can be sure to find useful information about how to use Artemesia in healthy and beautiful ways. Visit the booth in front of the Jackson Square fountain to learn more about Artemesia this year.
Throughout the square, vendors will be offering all varieties of live plants, herbs, art, crafts, herbal products, jewelry, baskets, pottery, wooden utensils, and more. Sample foods made with herbs will be available from 9 to 11 a.m., with grilling with herb demonstrations by local chefs from 1 to 3 p.m.
The Oak Ridge FARM Market will be open as usual across the street from the festival, offering delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables, baked goods, live plants and flowers, cheese, eggs, and grass-fed beef.
Seeking to delight all the senses, the Lavender Festival features local musicians throughout the day. Allen McBride, hammered dulcimer, and Liz and Tim, vocals, perform favorite Appalachian music. Other returning favorite musicians are Mighty Big Band, Early Bird Special, Andy Howe and Tony Mendez, and Good Thymes Ceiledh Band.
In the center of the action, a large festival tent will be set up with tables and chairs. Indulge in the local food at your leisure as you sit under the shade of the tent and as the sounds of the music provide the perfect soundtrack to your meal.
Be certain to bring the kids along as the festival offers many engaging children’s activities. This year, the children’s activities include aboriginal dot art with Bob Grimac, seed planting with Montessori School, balloon art, and street performer Danny Whitson. Of special interest is the booth of Jeri Landers, artist, writer, and illustrator of three children’s books.
An Herb Luncheon will be held the day before the festival, on Friday, June 20, under the festival tent. This is a peaceful event that features quiet harp music by Beck Hook, a wonderful herbal lunch, and a guest speaker, Jim Brown of Honey Rock Herb Farm, who will speak about “The Herbs and the Bees.” For luncheon reservations, call (865) 483-0961. The cost to attend is $20.
Judy Van Winkle of Oak Ridge said: “I’ve been coming to the Lavender Festival and herb luncheon for many years. I like that it’s joined with the farmer’s market, I love the arts and crafts, and I usually find some good plants to buy. I just like being in Jackson Square and celebrating some of our city history.”
Major sponsors of the Lavender Festival are an anonymous friend, Cowperwood Company, and Canterfield of Oak Ridge. Additional sponsors are Citizens First Bank, Covenant Senior Health, Eckert Chiropractic, Doubletree Hotel, Home Helpers, Precision, The Oak Ridger, TN Bank, and Visions Magazine.
For more information visit www.JacksonSquareLavenderFestival.org.