9th Oregon Lavender DAZE Festival

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It’s all about the lavender…or is it? With 6 live bands, local wines, 30+ art vendors, pizza, Mexican grill, burgers, ladybug release party for the kids, informational booths & more, the lavender may just have some competition.

July 20 & 21, 2013 marks the date for one of the most unique festivals in the Columbia Gorge, the Oregon Lavender DAZE Festival at Hood River Lavender Farms. Folks flock from all over the Northwest to enjoy the scenery, entertainment, food & wine, shopping and to just chill out in the grass while listening to some of the best musicians in the area.

The musical lineup begins on Saturday with MacMillan, McAlexander & Bell Trio, a trio of Columbia Gorge locals playing a blend of rock, folk, jazz, with a touch of Latin and reggae. Next up is Moe Dixon, a popular songwriter/perfumer known across North America & Europe’s concert and festival scene. Moe has written themes for Bob Hope specials, Warren Miller, and many others. Performing live for over 30 years, Moe has opened or played with names like Phil Oches, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Tom Rush, Nicolette Larson, Doc Watson, Maria Muldaur, Rory Block, Odetta, Jonathon Edwards, John Denver, Bill Danoff, Michael Johnson, Little River Band, The Hellacasters, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Three Dog Night, Eric Johnson, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Buddy Guy, Sonny Landreth, and Robben Ford. Closing Saturday’s music is the local favorite Barlow Road. Barlow Road is a five-piece band playing original roots-rock, Americana, and alt-country. Matt Mesa melodically crafts songs about love, life, asphalt, dirt, and everything else folks get on ourselves. Joining Matt in the band is Kerry Williams on mandolin and bouzouki, Ed Dietrich on bass, Rick Hulett on electric and pedal steel guitars, and the rocking "timekeeper" Tim Ortlieb on drums. Together, they are a lively, entertaining group just teetering on the edge.

Sunday’s Music starts with Scott McDougall, a high-energy story teller who’s songs "may very well seat you by a coffee-can fire in the middle of a dry California river-bed, pull you up onto a freight train in the lush spring-time of the Pacific northwest, raise your voice in hymns with the entire family on a Thanksgiving afternoon, or haste your good-bye to civilization as you know it, as you ramble on with all you possess on your back." Fact, fiction, and a little in between, McDougall carries on the relevant tradition of oral history and folklore, making it a part of everyday life and sharing it with those around him. Early afternoon welcomes up and coming pop artist Sara Jackson-Holman. Since her debut, Sara has garnered rave reviews and comparisons to chanteuses Adele, Amy Winehouse and Feist. Riding a national wave of exposure, Sara’s recent album Cardiology has earned her song’s being played on numerous national TV shows, including Castle, 90210, MTV’s Chelsea Settles and CW’s Ringer, Bones, AM Northwest, The Client List, and most recently twice on Grey’s Anatomy including last month’s season finale. Her video Freight Train, a touching song dedicated to her Grandfather, has rapidly been seen all over the web. Ending the Festival Sunday afternoon is the very popular Shed Shakers, another local favorite band that plays an eclectic range of acoustic newgrass, bluegrass and rock & roll. Named 2012 Gorge band of year, The Shed Shakers are known to get the crowd hopping & dancing with their energetic fast paced music, and are sure to keep folks entertained.

Sip on some of the best wines from the NW while strolling through the 30+ art vendor’s displays and view the amazing locally hand-crafted products that the area is known for. Solstice Pizza will be serving up some of their nationally famous wood-fired pizza, including a Lavender Pizza just for the event. Also showing off their culinary talents are PDX’s popular Fireside Grill and De La Hi BBQ.

Not to be forgotten for the kids, Teacher Janet will be hosting the popular Ladybug Release Party, where kids can learn about the great benefits Ladybugs offer, get face painted, and then help release thousands of Ladybugs into an organic lavender farm where the ladybugs can do their awesome work.

Then, of course there is the u-pick lavender. Over 75 varieties of lavender all available for u-pick, and at the peak of their bloom, and ready to impart their calming and beautiful aroma upon all who venture into the fields. Be sure to visit the farm’s Shoppe, where one can purchase high-quality fine lavender oil distilled on the farm, along with over 50 other unique and handcrafted lavender goodies.

Other not-to-be-missed sites at the festival include Foot Reflexology, author and lavender expert Sarah Bader from Lavender at Stonegate, craft classes & more.

So the gorgeous organic lavender may be the big draw, with its beauty and aroma, but there is much more to see and do at this year’s Oregon Lavender DAZE Festival. Bring a blanket or beach chair, chill under the shade of the large tents, and take in the day in lavender country.

Hood River Lavender Farms is conveniently located 1 mile off Hwy 35, only 1 very scenic hour drive from Portland, Oregon. With stunning views of volcanic Mt Hood & Mt Adams, and the Hood River Valley below, this farm is a small slice of heaven. Learn more about Lavender Daze Festival, to get a map, links and more, visit: http://tiny.cc/lavenderdaze

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joel orcutt
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