It started as a celebration of a new, exotic crop for the region, but over ten years the Blanco Lavender Festival has grown into a favorite Hill Country tradition that embodies all that is divine about the Blanco area. Nature. Color. Farming. Food. Art. Music. And now, history.
The 10th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival, June 13th-15th, will be bigger than ever, with events and booths filling not just the courthouse square but also nearby Yett Park. On Saturday night a special Lavender Dance has been added to cap off the weekend in the Lavender Capital of Texas.
Traditionally, the festival draws about 20,000 people from across the state to Blanco, which is an hour from both San Antonio and Austin.
“The festival gives our community the opportunity to show our visitors what makes Blanco such a special place - the people! Having Lavender as an agricultural enterprise in our area adds to its uniqueness,” says Libbey Aly, Executive Director of the Blanco Chamber of Commerce. “We are especially excited about the expansion of activities this year at Yett Memorial Park and our first Lavender Dance.”
The festival has always been held in early June, so that visitors can catch the lavender blooms at their peak at nearby farms. (The growing season runs from May through July.) Two farms, Hill Country Lavender (hillcountrylavender.com) and Imagine Lavender (imaginelavender.com), will open up to guests who can enjoy the exhilarating sights and smells of lavender in the field. Admission to the farms is free.
The historic grounds of the Old Blanco County Courthouse square will be the center of the action, with vendors from all over Texas selling lavender products and unique handmade crafts. This year more vendors will be set up in Yett Park, including those selling tractors, chainsaws, lawnmowers and other tools for the “outdoor arts.” On Sunday, June 15th, these companies will sponsor special activities for Father’s Day.
Visitors will be encouraged to park their cars at Yett Park and a shuttle, provided by the LBJ National Historical Park, will transport visitors to and from the square.
Other notable events include the Speaker’s Pavilion in the courthouse, where guests can learn more about how to grow and use lavender, and a packed line up of music on the stage at Bindseil Park, just off the main square. This year, the festival will welcome a new brewery in the beer booth: Twisted X, out of Dripping Springs.
At the first official Lavender Dance on Saturday night at Yett Park, the Almost Patsy Cline Band will be playing from 6:30-8:30. The Jim Raby Band will be entertaining the crowd from 9 till 11. Tickets for the dance are $10 each.
The history of lavender in the Blanco region extends back to 1999, when the first lavender field was planted. In 2001, that farm, Hill Country Lavender, became the first producing lavender farm in the state of Texas. The excitement and interest in lavender led to more nearby lavender farms, and soon the city of Blanco was named the Lavender Capital of Texas.
The Blanco Lavender Festival was first held in 2004 as a natural outgrowth of all the lavender activity in the area.
Lavender has become the most high profile of Blanco’s many attributes. The lovely, cypress-lined Blanco River runs right through town, surrounded by the 104-acre Blanco State Park. The imposing stone Old Blanco County Courthouse dates back to the 1880s—and was recently featured in a remake of True Grit—as do most of the buildings around the main square. The Blanco Bowling Club and Café is one of the few places in the Hill Country where German nine-pin bowling is still played.
Blanco was recently featured prominently in a New York Times article about the Texas Hill Country. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/travel/36-hours-in-texas-hill-country.html?_r=0
For more information about the 10th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival, visit www.blancolavenderfest.com or contact the Blanco Chamber of Commerce at 830-833-5101.