Lavender Festival showcases product on the rise

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GRAND JUNCTION Today was the Fourth Annual Palisade Lavender Festival and hundreds came out to celebrate the plant. There were cookies, teas and just about every kind of bath product you could think of at the festival.

"A lot of people are learning about it and there is so much to share with just one plant," Cheri Jacobson from the Lavender Association said "There's so much you can do with it."

Jacobson has been growing lavender for four years. She says it can be used as a disinfectant, to help heal bites or cuts, as a natural cleaner and for cooking. The smell of lavender can also deter mice, mosquitoes and other pests.

"It's a plant that is beautiful to begin with," Jacobson said. "It's easy to grow, you don't need to water it very much and it's very resistant to all kinds of diseases."

Amie Johnson, the poster artist for the event, also spends a lot of time working with lavender at Mountain Dance Lavender. The company was started by her friend who displays Johnson's water color paintings in the store and inspired her to enter her art work for the festival poster.

"It feels really good and I am really proud of that," Johnson said. "I have always loved lavender."

The Western Slope has prime conditions for growing lavender, putting it on the list of great agricultural products to come from this side of the mountains. Many even consider it an industry on the rise.

"It's really nice that the people of the valley can come to appreciate another agricultural division of what this valley has to offer," Johnson said.

The event today also had wreath-making and horse and carriage rides.

If you missed out today, the festival will continue tomorrow. There is a free lavender farms tour which goes from Paonia to Fruita and Palisade.

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