Upon one whiff, it can turn a not-so-good day into one with hope.
The plant has been around for about 2,500 years and is native to the Mediterranean.
In New Mexico – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque to be exact – it’s the center of the Lavender in the Village.
The event has been around since 2004 and is a major event for the community. It takes place Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 24, in Los Ranchos.
According to Katie K. Snapp, an executive board member of Lavender in the Village, the festival was started by a small group of Los Ranchos leaders interested in maintaining the rural focus of the Village and education of sustainable agriculture.
In 2007, it was granted nonprofit status by the state.
“The primary outreach event for fundraising and awareness is the lavender festival,” Snapp says. “Lavender is our representative plant of the mission and strongly associated with the fest, held during lavender bloom time. The fest has taken place most years and is now on the 15th annual. The location has always been in the village.”
Although the festival originally took place at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, it is now held at Hartnett Park on Rio Grande Boulevard.
“The Lavender Fest is produced separately from Los Poblanos but in coordination to lavender-based events at their site,” Snapp says.
Nan Nash, a Festival board member, says the event highlights the unique character of the Village of Los Ranchos and Albuquerque’s North Valley.
Nash says the mission is to support this beautiful rural part of our community and to both educate people about urban agriculture and support it.
“We have been fortunate in that our community recognizes this value which has allowed us to raise funds that tangibly support projects that fit within our mission,” Nash says. “LITV’s mission has remained constant since its inception however the festival has grown. This year has initiated a large change in that the LITV Board has partnered with the Rio Grande Community Farms board to put on the Festival. We hope to continue that partnership in future years.”
Nash says the best part of the festival is bringing together all of the small businesses and local artists that either make lavender products or highlight lavender during the festival month to support the mission.
“The festival has expanded to include small boutique events during July at local businesses,” Nash says. “These events allow the community to enjoy the Festival throughout July. We have also revived the Saturday evening concert. You just can’t beat listening to music under the stars on a warm summer night in the Village.”
Dean Strober stepped in to help plan the event about eight years ago.
He says this year’s festival will have 106 different vendors – all selling a different product based on lavender.
“Last year was a farmer’s market style event,” Strober says. “This year’s event is bigger and is more aligned with what people would have experienced in 2019.”
Snapp says the major beneficiaries have been two-fold – the Explora Farm Camp (held in Los Ranchos) and the Rio Grande Community Farm.
“Both are ideal examples of organizations in alignment with our mission in agriculture, education, and support of local farms,” Snapp says.