It was quite a fun contest to win, too! They did a Facebook Live video where we had to locate Lucky (the Lavender Leprachaun) somewhere in downtown Victoria and be the first people to identify him.
Other people saw him, but had no clue what was going on. I think it says something about us, as Victorians, that a man dressed in a purple plush velvet suit doesn’t even raise an eyebrow.
We were in the car and ready to go, heading downtown with me driving and Colin at the ready with the Facebook page loaded on his iPhone, when the video went live. Lucky for us, we know the area quite well and immediately headed in their direction. Never have traffic lights seemed so long and pedestrians so slow!
I barely had the car stopped, when Colin jumped out and started tearing down the pathway towards the dock Lucky was standing on! I couldn’t leave the car in the towaway zone, so watched with baited breath, hoping no one else would beat us there.
Colin hadn’t ran that fast in a long time, and I think Lucky was a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to stop, and would knock him into the water. All was well, though. We won! (Skip to 5:58 for our winning moments. You can hear me cheering in the background.)
We had our choice of packages (valued between $62-72 USD pp), and opted for the Saturday afternoon street fair + two farms. Calling to book it was surprisingly enjoyable, as they have the absolute BEST hold music I have ever heard!
The Day Trip
We got there by 10am to pick up our festival package from Lucky. I’m glad we didn’t delay, because there was quite a crowd for the 10:30 departure!
We did get there just in time to lean over the railing and watch the Victoria Harbour Ferries get into position to do their iconic Water Ballet. I’ve never actually seen it, myself, but it’s on my list.
Then, we were off! It’s always fun to wave to the people having their morning coffee along the harbour walkway as you leave the city behind.
We spent a good part of the time looking for whales. Colin did manage to spot a few dolphins or porpoises, but they were gone before I had a chance to see them.
It wasn’t long before the 1.5 hour sailing was over and it was time to pull out the passports again for the US border control. (They also check passports before boarding.)
Once cleared, it was onto one of two coach buses to get on with the rest of our day.
Sequim Lavender Festival Street Fair
At our first stop, we only ended up having about 25 minutes to explore the expansive market. It was quite a shame, as the smell of cinnamon-dusted mini donuts and elephant ears was enticing and I would have loved to browse the kiosks, or even take some time to sample the lavender-themed offerings I noticed in the beer garden.
I did manage to rush through and buy a few things from the local artisans.
And make a new friend.
Purple Haze Organic Lavender Farm
This place was the definite highlight of our day. From the moment I stepped down from the bus, I felt the festival atmosphere. The place was literally buzzing with bees and people.
The farm has created their own event called Purple Haze Daze within the bigger Lavender Weekend going on around town. They have multiple musical acts, vendors, and a local restaurant to cater the whole thing with locally-sourced lavender themed food and drink.
Blondie’s Plate did an absolutely fantastic job feeding the hundreds of people I saw lining up while I was there.
Once my hands were full of goodies, we found a spot to watch the stage. Black Diamond Junction really rocked it! I was happily surprised that a community agri-tourism event like this could bring in musicians of this calibre. Lead singer Amanda Bacon belted out the rock hits like nobody’s business. The band brought a great energy to the place, and I was really sad that their set ended shortly after I finished my bratwurst.
While I would have enjoyed a keek at the vendors/ stalls, and the farm’s own giftshop, alas, I could not. After just over an hour, Lucky said it was time to go. It was all I could do to throw back the rest of my drink (waste not, want not) and hustle to the bus.
Peace out, Purple Haze.
Jardin du Soleil
This place was a lot more low-key than the last one. Jardin du Soleil had vendors, food, and live music, but it felt more like a farm that tried to throw a party than a happening festival on a farm.
It seemed that at some point in the weekend, there were or would be activities for young and old. But, the tents weren’t manned, the music was a background element, and the ice cream truck seemed to be the most interesting food option.
That said, they did have a hedge maze.
They also had some yummy lavender-themed beverages.
And, some really beautiful fields of lavender to gaze at while you enjoyed them.
Oh, and did I mention the camel rides?
Again, time was an issue. I had to choose between partaking in the refreshments and meandering around the attractions on the farm versus standing in line for ice cream or a camel ride.
It was only after getting back on the bus that I realized I hadn’t picked or purchased any lavender products the whole time I was at a lavender festival!
After the last farm, our bus dropped off those who were staying for the evening portion of the festival at the George Washington Lavender Farm. The BnB looked gorgeous, and I would definitely check it out for a future overnight trip to this area. Colin was also wishing we could stay just long enough to get some of the garlic fries we saw through the bus window. However, we had decided earlier that staying for another 2 farms would make for a very long day, and we were mostly happy with our decision.
We got to have a light dinner on board the MV Coho on the return trip and watch the golden hour descend over Victoria’s Inner Harbour from a unique perspective.
While big group bus trips aren’t generally my preferred travel style, free definitely is. I also think it may be the best deal out there even if you don’t win this package in a contest like we did.
Ferry fare + entry into the farm events + designated driver + timekeeping leprachaun = No worries about any of the details!
I’m very grateful to Blackball Ferry Line for running this contest, and I’ll be trying again next year, so watch out!
P.S. Stay tuned for Round #2 of Sequim as we attend the Far West Beer Fest on July 23rd!
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