It was an overcast Saturday morning, a perfect match for the new, melancholy album by Bastille. I relished some “me time,” even if that meant encountering traffic on the 91-E as I drove past the sweeping hills and developing communities out near Corona. For the third consecutive year in a row, I cleared an entire day’s schedule to drive down to Cherry Valley and enjoy all things lavender at the Lavender Festival.
After picking up my friend from Riverside, we were on our way back to that familiar, rustic farm tucked away in a residential neighborhood, complete with lavender fields and picturesque tree tunnels. Each year, the Lavender Festival at 123Farm has grown, offering new lavender-themed options, experiences, and more. Lavender is my favorite color, scent and flavor, so I try not to miss any opportunity to enjoy the versatile little flower I’ve grown to love so much.
I grabbed my tickets online ahead of time, also snagging an afternoon tea reservation (back in January!). This year, there was a preferred parking option, as well as a VIP parking option. Previously, parking was absolute chaos, but I still decided not to spend the extra cash on parking, and I’m glad I didn’t! We arrived around 1PM, expecting the craziness we encountered last year, but to our surprise, there was hardly a soul around! We were easily able to find street parking that wasn’t too far from the entrance.
We walked down the long, gravel road and followed the soothing sounds of a live musical act. The weather was surprisingly not sweltering, and I soaked in every cool breeze that came my way. There is something so calming about 123Farm that really keeps me coming back every year.
Our afternoon tea reservation was for 2PM, just when the heat started to kick in. Thankfully the afternoon tea is held in a grassy area with plenty of shade. The trees rustled with every light burst of wind, providing the perfect natural, white noise we needed to relax. Our pot of earl grey lavender rose tea arrived, followed by dainty desserts, and finally, lavender champagne.
Since I was still recovering from the flu, I had no interest in a fast-paced day full of activities and cramming as much in as possible.
We definitely took our time, savoring our lavender-themed foods and treats, then taking a leisurely stroll through the grounds and spending more time in all of the rustic shops, exploring every nook and cranny, and every charming detail.
One of my favorite parts of the Lavender Festival is the shopping. This year, festival organizers improved their local vendors setup - in lieu of last year's tents, local vendors had their own solid spaces this year. My friend and I enjoyed weaving through the Organic Galleries (present every year) but also weaving our way through the local vendor shops. One of our favorite offerings this year was the lavender cheeses!
Lavender honey ice cream, lavender brisket, lavender cronut, lavender iced tea - just a few edible items offered by this wonderful festival. We indulged our tastebuds, but we also spent quite a bit of time indulging my camera lens!
There is something particularly quaint but also very special about visiting the Lavender Festival. This is not a festival geared towards influencers or instagrammers, banking on trendy, photogenic flower walls or elaborate hashtags. The Festival, still growing in popularity, is a chance for locals and tourists alike to see another side of Southern California. 123Farm offers a perfect glimpse into quiet farm life, away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
This year, the festival is running until June 30. Head over to the Lavender Festival website for more information, including ticket sales, events, and details!
Will you be attending the Lavender Festival this year, or even next year?
Until next time,