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Maryland Lavender Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery,11836 Auburn Rd., Thurmont

Cost: Tickets for Saturday are sold out. Sunday tickets are $15-$25. Children younger than age 2 are free.

What to watch out for: 3,000 lavender plants, including a combination of English and French lavender in seven different varieties, and other festivities.

While much of Maryland turns Ravens purple in the fall, Thurmont’s Springfield Manor has turned it lavender for the past three summers.

The winery, brewery and distillery will host its annual event, the Maryland Lavender Festival, this weekend.

Springfield Manor manager Valerie St. Angelo said the event will showcase 3,000 lavender plants, including a combination of English and French lavender in seven different varieties.

The lavender will not be available for picking during that particular weekend, but St. Angelo said attendees can walk through the fields and use them for photoshoots. The English varieties have two blooming periods, with the peak one in June and a second one in September. The blooms typically last about a month, and lavender will be available for picking the weekend after the festival, St. Angelo said.

They have been growing lavender for the past six years, which St. Angelo admitted is not an easy crop for the area.

“It’s not a commonly grown plant,” she said, noting sunflower fields as more of a Maryland trademark.

They initially grew it just for flowers but eventually started using it for gin and bath products.

The festival has been great for tourism for both Thurmont and Frederick County, with attendees coming from as far as Florida, Chicago and Puerto Rico, St. Angelo said.

The festival will feature jazz, soft rock and country bluegrass bands; several food trucks; more than 50 hand-crafted artisan vendors; educational seminars; and wine, beer and spirits. Lavender will also be in food form with pizza, ice cream, baked goods, caramels and lemonade flavored with the flower. St. Angelo said the pizza is a white pizza with lavender in the sauce.

“It’s delicious,” she said.

The baked goods include scones, lavender red velvet cake and lavender lemon cookies. The combination of lavender and citrus is one of St. Angelo’s personal favorites.

“It’s best used with lemon, lime and orange flavors,” she said.

An item they really hope to showcase is their lavender gin, which St. Angelo said was a double-gold medal winner in two worldwide competitions. Samples of the gin are included in all entry tickets and bottles in multiple sizes will be for sale.

They’ll have more beers available than previous years and a Locust Blossom white wine, which St. Angelo said is hand-crafted solely from flowers on their farm.

“It’s a really nice floral, sweet white wine,” she said.

The educational seminars are on growing lavender, cooking with it, extracting lavender oil, crafting with lavender and the love language of lavender, St. Angelo said. There will also be beekeepers doing presentations on how bees pollinate lavender.

A variety of ticket options are available with some including a glass of wine or beer. Lavender lemonade is available with all tickets.

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