Vibrant event celebrates local flavors and talent, leaving attendees captivated and inspired

PASO ROBLES — The local olive and lavender industries were celebrated at the Paso Robles City Park for the third annual joint Olive and Lavender Festival presented by the Paso Robles Main Street Association.

Saturday, May 20, marked the 20th annual Olive Festival and the 15th annual Lavender Festival. The park filled with local vendors and visitors who took the day not only enjoying the savory oils and sweet lavender, but also spent part of their day at the annual Paso Wine Fest down at the Paso Robles Event Center.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, May 6, the Olive and Lavender Festival had to be moved to later in the month. This was because the City of Atascadero’s annual Tamale Festival was rained out in January and rescheduled for May 6. Paso Robles Main Street Association Executive Director Norma Moye told Paso Robles Press that they then had to move their festival to later in the month to avoid competition.

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Hambly Farms of San Miguel was one of several vendors selling their wares May 20 at the Olive and Lavender Festival. Photos by Camille DeVaul

There were worries about having the Olive and Lavender Festival on the same day as the Paso Wine Fest, but many visitors were overheard saying they have been enjoying both festivals throughout the day.

“The weather was beautiful,” said Moye. “Everything was on our side.”

The festival started with a blessing from Father Rodolso Conerevas. Renowned experts in the field, including Rosh Wright, Karen Tallent, and Tatiana Sorokina, took the stage to share their knowledge and passion for lavender and olive oil.

The Lavender Garden proved to be a fragrant oasis, where visitors indulged in a variety of lavender-infused treats. Pretty Eats came with their lavender and olive oil cookies, while My Mama’s Macarons served up lavender macarons. The Paso Robles Distillery Trail offered its Lavender Honey Mules as a festive cocktail and California Coast Beer Co. offered their beers giving attendees a chance to savor the local brews.

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Norma Moye, second from left, and other members of the Paso Robles Main Street Association man the booth at the Olive and Lavender Festival on May 20. Photos by Camille DeVaul

Throughout the day, visitors had the opportunity to explore the olive oil tasting and lavender booths, where they could discover the region’s olive oils and lavender products. Complimentary olive oil tangerine gelato made by Leo Leo Gelato and Pasolivo proved to be a visitor favorite as it was drizzled with local honey.

Each year for the festival, local artist Hellie Blythe creates a friendly field mouse embracing olive and lavender. Blythe’s diverse artistic skills encompass metalworking, glass torchwork, glass blowing, and scene painting.

Moye expressed gratitude for the successful festival. She shared, “It was absolutely fabulous. People came up to us and said, ‘thank you, Main Street, for putting on this event,’ … so I am proud of all of our volunteers, all the vendors that came, everyone that partook, even the visitors. God bless them and thank them for making it a total success.”

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Visitors of all ages enjoyed the olive oil tangerine gelato made by Leo Leo Gelato and Pasolivo drizzled with local honey at the Olive and Lavender Festival. Photos by Camille DeVaul

Moye also emphasized the positive impact of the festival on the local olive and lavender industry, stating, “People had a good time, and our speakers were fabulous … we got to promote the [local] olive and lavender industry.” 

The beautiful weather and the dedication of local volunteers further contributed to the event’s success, leaving attendees with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the region’s agricultural heritage.

Moye extended an invitation to the community, encouraging them to get involved in future events, stating, “Thank the local volunteers … they all did a spectacular job. If anyone in the community wants to get involved, come down and help us during our events.”