Local lavender festivals cancel in-person events, shift to new formats
July is lavender's time to shine but COVID-19 is putting a damper on two local festivals that celebrate this soothing purple plant.
The Original Michigan Lavender Festival, scheduled for August 13-15 at the Eastern Michigan fairgrounds, announced Friday that it is canceling its in-person festival this summer and instead will shift to a virtual experience with video segments of lavender presentations, workshops and more.
The Blake's Lavender Festival, meanwhile, has also scratched its three-day Lavender Festival, planned for Friday through Sunday. But its Lovey's Lavender Farm and Artisan Market, an indoor store located at Blake Farms in Armada, is now open through Aug. 2 with a range of lavender products and foods.
"The safety of our guests, artists, and staff has always been our top priority, and nothing will ever take precedence over (guests') well-being," said Jennifer Keene, founder and creative director of the Michigan Lavender Festival, which started in 2002 and now draws thousands every year.
Both festivals -- the Michigan Lavender Festival and Blake Farms' festival -- are now issuing ticket refunds to those who purchased advance tickets.
Lavender, know for its ability to soothe a range of ailments including reducing stress and anxiety, is typically in peak bloom in mid-July. Experts say now is the time to visit a lavender farm in Michigan.
Indigo Lavender Farms in Imlay City is offering U-Pick Lavender until Aug. 2. It's $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and veterans.
Keene said she knows her festival is a summertime tradition for so many so she and her team along with vendors and sponsors couldn't imagine not doing something.
So "we've created an alternative plan," said Keene.
The festival's virtual experience will include recorded presentations, workshops and demonstrations, as well as a virtual lavender farm experience, said Keene. Segments will be available online through the end of September for viewers to watch and they'll be doing giveaways on social media channels.