Ojai Valley Lavender Festival

On June 27,  the 12th Annual Ojai Valley Lavender Festival (OVLF) in Libbey Park was a success.

A royal event where hundreds of people flocked to join the festivities and give homage to the magic of Heather, an ancient medicinal flower, today known as lavender. Its  roots date back to European royalty from the likes of Charles Vl of France, who it is said, slept on lavender pillows — to Queen Elizabeth and Louis XIV, both loyal admirers’ of lavender.

A wonderful summer day, filled with fragrance and all-day musical talent featuring Richard Kaller; Steel Cut Band; Ventucky; Cindy Kalmenson & The Lucky Ducks; Smitty & Julija; Honeysuckle Possums, and Jerry Pugh.   Strolling was fun among the rows of vendors, potters, chefs, artisans, musicians, everything lavender – even a lavender baby chick!

IMG_0952In the spirit of the festival this year, Ojai’s local merchants offered discounts and incorporated Lavender.  One of my favorites was the Lavender Ice-Cream at Ojai Ice Cream & Fudge, it was to live for!


Other mouth-watering local sampling included: Seared Halibut with Lavender-Thistle Butter at No So Vita; Lavender Lemon Scones at Café Emporium; Honey Lavender Gelato at Papa Lennon’s’ Lavender Crème Brulee at The Ranch House; lavender Blueberry Smoothies at Farmer & the Cook; Lavender Ice Cream with Stone Fruit at Tipple & Ramble; Lavender Lemonade at Bonnie Lu’s; Lavender Yogurt and Sorbet at Bliss; Lemon lavender Shortbread Cookies at Knead Baking co.; Lavender Lemon Bars at Feast Bistro; Lavender Meringues and Crème Brulee at Marche Gourmet; lavender Berry Smoothies at O-Hi Frostie, and Lavender Cheese Cake at the the Deer Lodge. Amazing  – if you missed it this year, be there for 2016 for another promising magnificent event.

The organizers did a fantastic job and according to Cindy Mullins, OVLF President & Entertainment Chair,  when asked about her vision for the future of the festival, she said.  “The Ojai Valley Lavender Festival brings people  from all over California to sample and learn about the many beneficial uses of lavender when it is used beyond fresh and dried bouquets in soaps, lotions, oils, cooking and crafts.  This year it is especially important to emphasize the drought resistant and drought tolerant qualities of this lovely, graceful plant which can be grown outdoors and also adapts well as a houseplant.  People return year after year to find new vendors and old, listen to the ever-updated music and hear educational and entertaining speakers.  There is always something new at the Ojai Valley lavender Festival.”

A delightful  half-day trip is the beautiful lavender fields at Frog Creek Farm in upper Ojai. Larry and Christel Rogero will give you a delightful tour. They have over 500 plants of three varieties, Provence (French), Hidcote (English) and Grosso (English). Be sure to stop in their store and pick up some lavender, honey, soaps and sachets.

IMG_1175This visitor got a bit hot as the day went on, but a nice cold iced lavender lemonade was the perfect libation. Bring a floppy hat, sunglasses and wear comfortable shoes. Although, there is plenty of seating at the stage and around the cool fountain in Libbey Park. The organizers thought of everything to make your day comfortable and entertaining.  All this for Free!

Next year, join the royal ranks, fill your pockets with scents of Heather and maybe even find your own queen or king at the Lavender Festival – make sure it’s the one in Ojai. The authentic Ojai Valley, known for its organic lavender farms.