Festival History

The Pend Oreille Valley Lavender Festival began in 2004 as a grass roots endeavor to involve the community in economic development and tourism promotion for our county. The original sponsors, the WSU Pend Oreille County Extension and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, worked with volunteers from the community and other business sponsors to develop a spectacular artisan event when the lavender is in full bloom along the Pend Oreille River.

The original Festival site was a portion of the 259 acre Conner homestead under the ownership of Jerry and Wendy Kapelke. Thousands of lavender plants were in full bloom during the Festival and many different varieties of lavender were displayed. The glory of the fragrance and color, enhanced by the haunting melodies provided by talented, professional musicians, made this a remarkable open-air market experience. The Festival also offered an introduction to regional artists, artisans, and growers. Provided garden tours, demonstrations, children's activities and great food.

With over 3000 visitors and 60 vendors in 2007, we needed to move to a site with easier access and room to expand. In 2008, the Festival relocated to the City Park at First and Calispel in Newport, Washington. With blooming lavender plants arranged throughout the park in a Tuscan garden setting, visitors were able to enjoy food and artisan vendors, music and entertainment, craft demonstrations, children's activities and for the first time, wine tasting, too. In addition to the musicians who have been part of previous festivals, actors performed excerpts from the most popular productions in the area this year including scenes from Howard's Follies. Oh, and don't forget the crowd pleasing lavender fairies. Come by the festival this year and chances are you'll see one or two fluttering about the fairy garden.

Poster Artists

While no one has difficulty imagining a robust relationship between gardeners and farmers with rural life, the artist-rural connection is less evident. Fortunately, events like the Lavender Festival make that too often hidden bond, very explicit. Our Lavender Festival artists have found their inspiration in the vivid, rich natural world of the Pend Oreille Valley. What sustains our community inspires our artists, and they teach us to see. Lavender Festival artists, like so many of the local volunteers who promote this festival with pride, have unique and inspiring stories to share.


2012 Poster: Maureen Owings

"Lavender Before Dawn"

2012 Festival Artist was Maureen Owings. She surprised everyone including herself, with her rendition of "Lavender Before Dawn." "Mo," as she's affectionately known, works at our local Ben Franklin Store.

She didn't even tell her family that she had entered our poster art contest until after she was chosen as our winner. Her artwork was a combination of airbrush and acrylics, a very different technique.

As a special thank you for the year 2012, we presented her original art to the Kalispel Tribe of Indians for their continuing support of the Pend Oreille Valley Lavender Festival.


2011 Poster: Carol Wenz has enjoyed life in the Northwest for over 30 years. During that time she has explored numerous artistic techniques.

"My current medium of choice is silk painting. I love the art of painting on silk fabric. The yarn of a silk caterpillar provides the canvas. I apply French dyes onto high quality silk using linear resist to create my paintings. A silk painting seems to change it's appearance depending on the amount of light. I derive inspiration for my art from the beauty of the Pend Oreille River country."

Carol lives in Tiger, WA with her husband Fred and Merlin the cat. She is a member of the Evergreen Art Association and the River Ridge Association of Fine Arts. Her work has been shown locally at the Camas Center, Create, the Kirtland Cutter Gallery, the Pend Oreille Playhouse, and Tango Gallery.

2011 Youth Art Poster

Our 2011 Children's Art Poster contest winner was Anna Lillie, and eleven-year-old budding artist. Anna is a very talented young lady. She's just full of energy and tries many things to fulfill her artistic ambitions. Watercolor seems to be her medium though in her artwork.


2010 Poster: Autumn Oscarson shot these images of the 2009 Lavender Festival with a Canon 30D Digital EOS using a Sigma Zoom Wide Angle Telephoto Lens. Artistic filters were applied to the photos which were then composed using Adobe Suite software.

"I really enjoy layout and design as well as capturing that initial shot of the beauty around us. After design college in Los Angeles and city livin' in Long Beach and Seattle, I've always returned to our Selkirk Mountain area (like many of us do) and have spent a few great years running The Old Northern Inn Bed & Breakfast in Coolin, which grew my love for the Priest Lake area and attached me to it's great history. Now I live full time in the area, selling my art & photography and enjoying the nature I grew up in. I hope you enjoy seeing our land and community through my eyes."


2009 Poster: This watercolor by Fabian Napolski, a Spokane resident, depicts Lavender growing against a backdrop of the Pend Oreille River and captures the mood of the festival and the region.

"My art focuses upon scenes in the Pacific Northwest, reflecting the longing I have for the quiet solitude found in nature. Many of my paintings were inspired while kayaking, fishing, or camping in the wilds of Alaska. My art explores the various moods of nature and searches for simplicity in an otherwise complex world. My use of color washes with loose brushstrokes and soft edges is designed to evoke feelings of harmony and serenity. Where our world seems to draw us into a frenzied existence, my paintings seek to communicate that there is an alternative, and that it is within the reach of those who choose to look."


2008 Poster: Gloria de los Santos has worked as a professional artist, graphic designer and photographer and is a developer of new methods for visual expression. Currently her work is represented in the Art at Work program at the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane.

Gloria attended the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and received a B.A. in Communications Design from University of Illinois. She has lived and worked as an artist in such diverse locations as Bermuda, Chicago, London, and Los Angeles. Her filmography special effects credits include Titanic, Hollowman, Star Trek Insurrection and Mists of Avalon. Currently, she is the arts coordinator for the Orient / Inchelium / Valley Arts Consortium funded through a WSAC grant. She has served as the volunteer Director for the Colville Arts Foundation since 2002.


2006 Poster: "Kindergarten and Crayons" is where Nancy Knight, a native of the Phoenix, Arizona area, first discovered her love for creating art. Over the years she has worked with acrylics, graphite, colored pencil, pen and ink, and a bit of printmaking. She now is enjoying the experience of painting with watercolor.

Nancy had a show of her watercolor painting at the Kirtland Cutter Gallery in Metaline Falls, Washington, and at Interplayers in Spokane in the Spring of 2007. She has participated in group shows at CREATE in Newport, and was sponsored by the Spokane Watercolor Society. Nancy lives near Newport, Washington with her husband.

"There is much in this world that is wonderful and beautiful. My desire is to preserve a moment in time. I am happiest when I am using my talent to create images for others to enjoy."


2005 and 2007 Poster: Kate Drum brings viewers of her posters to the deep, riverside beauty of the Inland Empire lavender experience. Kate manages a singular kind of Inland Pacific Northwest expression. She lives in wooded Pend Oreille County where daily excursions into the natural environs around her home of 26 years inspire her acrylic and pastel paintings.

"I walk the mountain daily – rain, snow, or shine – taking in the beauty of its surrounds: the lake, beaver pond, creek, mossy rocks and ferns, distant views, forests of old growth ponderosa, larch, fir, hemlock, cedar, maple, birch, cottonwood, aspen. And the wildlife – bear, cougar, bobcat, moose, elk, deer, beaver, weasel, bald eagle, osprey, and blue heron. The woods provide all the line, color, pattern and texture I could ask for."
 


2004 Poster: Clare E. Clark's creativity was nourished early on by the writers, musicians, and artists in her family. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of California Fullerton, Clare settled in Newport, Washington, doing freelance design while she and her husband built their dream home on the Pend Oreille River. Surrounded by such natural beauty, she soon focused solely on painting and teaching the medium of watercolor.


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