Featured image by Cheryl Landes
On the second weekend in July, the distinctive, pleasant aroma of lavender fills the air inside the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon, during the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival. It’s the only event I’m aware of where you can find food, beverages, and other products made from lavender alongside a show of original art painted in the lavender fields of Oregon.
The art is created during Plein Art Paint Out. For two and a half weeks in late June and early July, each participating artist picks a lavender field in Oregon, goes there, and paints a picture inspired by their experiences. The pieces are judged in two categories, Professional Division and Open Division, and some receive prizes. All of the works are displayed in an art show at the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival.
In addition to viewing the art at the festival, stop at the vendors’ booths featuring oils, soap, lotions, and many other practical, decorative, and healing products made from lavender. Grab some lavender cuisine for a snack or lunch, and wash it down with lavender beer or wine. Listen to live music. Learn how to make your own lavender crafts hands-on. Visit a local lavender farm.
Some farms participate in an annual photography contest. The deadline for entries is August 1.
This year’s Willamette Valley Lavender Festival is on Friday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, July, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Festival parking is limited to certain areas at the Chehalem Cultural Center and in the surrounding neighborhood. Visit the parking page for details.
If you’re interested in participating in next year’s Plain Air Paint Out, remember that the event fills quickly. Get on the list to be notified early about registering by calling (503) 487-6883.
For more information about the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival, visit wvlavenderfestival.org.
Newberg is 20 miles southwest of Portland.