The drought may have stripped the Lavender, Herb and Chilli Festival of its magnificent purple rows at Laggan, but that won't stop Judith and Michael Basile from throwing a fun-filled weekend.
Chilli tastings, cooking with herbs, live music (Saturday, 2-5pm), food and plant sales are still on the cards and the couple has sourced lavender to hold distilling demonstrations.
Lavender is also still alive in the farm's beautifully themed gardens, which are a popular attraction year-round, Mrs Basile said.
The Crystal Brook Gardens and Lavender Farm owners did everything they could to keep the lavender alive - even borrowing a neighbour's water when they ran out - but it was still too dry.
"We watered for the first time in 20 years, but the heat cooked everything," Mrs Basile said.
"We questioned cancelling the festival and if there had been a fire here, we would have had to. But I've kept my eye on the weather patterns and Saturday and Sunday look reasonably cool, with temperatures in the 20s," Mrs Basile said.
For every entry, $2 will go to the NSW Rural Fire Service brigades in Crookwell, Laggan and Taralga.
The couple hopes locals will support the festival, expecting those who usually come from the Southern Highlands to be caught up with the fires.
"We've done everything we can but we don't know how many people we'll get," Mrs Basile said.
There will be misting fans if the day gets too hot and children's activities in the morning and afternoon to give families a break.
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