Trip report: Sequim Lavender Festival and the Olympic Game Farm

Raymond Chen

My family took a weekend trip to Sequim for the Sequim Lavender Festival,¹ hosted by the Sequim Lavender Growers Association, and which has the nickname “Lavender Capital of North America.”²

Here are my notes:

  • If you want a hotel room for the weekend of the lavender festival, you need to reserve it early. (We booked ours in April.) Sequim is not a large town, so their hotel capacity is limited.
  • The lavender festival itself is not very large by big-city standards. About two blocks of street-fair vendors, not all of which have a direct tie-in to the lavender theme. Many of them are just your usual street fair vendors. There is also one short block of food vendors, which includes a music performance stage and a beer garden.
  • Traffic on festival weekend is heavy. We chose to drive around the sound instead of taking a ferry: The ferry is negligibly faster under ideal conditions, and conditions were less than ideal due to the heavy traffic. The wait for the ferry was likely to be a few hours. (Furthermore, there were three accidents on Highway 101 leading into town, which resulted in over an hour of additional delays.) As consolation, the driving route took us over the beautiful Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
  • In my experience, the people of Sequim are friendly and happy to chat.

Before we left Sequim, we paid a visit to the Olympic Game Farm. You drive your car through areas with deer, bison, elk, yak, peacocks, and llamas. (Not all at the same time.) You also drive past other animal areas, and there’s one place where you park your car and feed the deer through a wire fence. (Full list of animals.) At the gate, you can buy loaves of wheat bread for $2 per loaf, and this is the only food you can give the animals. We bought four loaves and used 3½ of them. The leftover bread we gave to another family at the deer-feeding area.

My kids loved the experience of riding along in a car, feeding animals through rolled-down windows. The animals are not afraid to stick their entire head into the car to score some food.

When we arrived shortly after the farm opened at 9am, there was no line. By 11am, we found that the animals weren’t interested in eating any more. I guess they were full from their very starchy breakfast. On our way out, we found a significant line to get in.

My suggestion is to avoid the traffic headaches: Skip the official lavender festival and create your own.

  • Most of the lavender farms in the area are open all summer, not just during festival weekend.
  • If you’re looking for lavender-themed gifts, you can go to the Purple Haze store downtown.
  • You will miss out on the giant scoop of lavender ice cream from the food stand, but you can buy smaller servings at the Purple Haze store downtown.
  • You will also miss out on chatting with the locals at the festival.
  • Visit the Olympic Game Farm as soon as they open, so you get to feed the animals while they are still hungry.

¹ Sequim is the town after which Service Quality Monitoring Software Quality Metrics was named.

² I can’t find any organization which claims to have assigned said nickname. It might very well be self-bestowed.


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