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Barrington Hall Hosts Roswell's First Lavender Festival

More than 650 people turned out Saturday for Roswell's first lavender festival to celebrate the city's history and the fragrant herb.

Fred and Jayne Wallace were among the hundreds of people who turned out Saturday for the inaugural . Attendees had the chance to sample a host of lavender treats, including lavender pound cake and lavender sorbet.

Ron Mulgrew, who oversees the tours and events at , said that he was very pleased with the turnout. He pegged the number of people who came out to be at least 650. These impressive numbers materialized despite a heavy thunderstorm that passed over the area in the afternoon.

“This has exceeded our expectations for this being a first-year event,” he said.

Organizers note that Evelyn Simpson, who was a descendant of Roswell co-founder Barrington King, inspired the event. She sold lavender and was known to use the herb to help soothe her migraine headaches.

Novices to lavender were offered educational seminars to bring them up to speed on its myriad of uses. Members from the North Fulton Master Gardeners and the Chattahoochee Unit of the Herb Society of America were on hand to help school attendees.

“We came to learn more about lavender,” Jayne Wallace said. “We had some growing, but didn’t know what to do with it,” she laughed with her husband.

In addition to its delightful and soothing scent, the herb can be used in everything from cooking to bathing. Most attendees were in agreement that the lavender pound cake stole the show. They were given a list of recipes, including the pound cake, as a complimentary gift. The festival also offered craft shows, including one that allowed festival-goers the chance to make their own lavender scented bath salts.

Brian Thomas said he made a point to visit Barrington Hall to enjoy and photograph the lavender. He said he looked forward to this becoming another annual Roswell tradition.

“Hopefully, over the years, more people will hear about it and the number of people who come out will grow,” said Brian Thomas.

Kathleen Kernan and Amy Walsh were among the 15 vendors who signed up for the event. Kerman displayed products from her Cupcakes Designs business, while Walsh showed quilts created for her business, "Shirt Off Your Back Quilts." In honor of the festival, a handcrafted quilt made from t-shirts with floral designs was raffled off. It featured swatches on the corners that were embroidered by Kernan.

Mulgrew said plans do call for the festival to be held again next year because of the response from the community.

Dale Sherman volunteers at Barrington Hall and said she was happy to see the community come out to support the lavender festival.

She agreed with most of the others who attended the festival that it was a great way to share in the history of Roswell with their family and friends. She spoke of a little girl who was probably around three years old dancing to the tunes being played by Gene Kunkle and Kenny Sumner.

 “She was just dancing to the music, all to herself,” Sherman said. “It was fun to see and I think we’ve all had a good time today.”

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