Get Ready to Party: Five Garlic Festivals to Visit this Year
One of the best – and most fun – ways to celebrate your love of fresh peeled garlic cloves is to attend a garlic festival. Festivals allow you to immerse yourself in the complete garlic experience – the foods, flavors, growers, and products. Imagine a space where you can sample garlic ice cream, don a garlic hat, observe garlic demonstrations, and converse with other garlic enthusiasts.
Festivals usually have live music and other forms of entertainment, so you can mingle and celebrate with other bulb lovers. And perhaps best of all: everyone will be enjoying garlic, so you won’t have to be self-conscious about your garlic breath! Last, many garlic festivals donate their proceeds to charity and/or benefit local growers, so you can party down knowing you’re also helping others. Below is a list of five of the country’s top garlic festivals – comment by letting us know what your favorite is!
1. California – Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015
Where: Gilroy, CA
When: July 24-26, 2015
The Gilroy Garlic Festival is the big boy of garlic festivals. It was started in 1979 to help foster community pride in the areas softneck garlic production. Since that time it has grown into a huge, heavily sponsored event with loads of garlic themed entertainment. Over 80,000 visitors attended in 2014 and $300,000 was distributed to 149 charities. The festival has raised over $10.6 million for charities over its 36 year run. Gilroy Garlic Festival concentrates more on the food and fun aspect of garlic than on garlic production or diversity.
2. New York – Hudson Valley Garlic Festival
Where: Saugerties, New York
When: September 26-27, 2015
In 1989, Pat Reppert of Shale Hill Farm and Herb Gardens organized the first Garlic Festival held in the Hudson Valley – and perhaps on the East Coast. It was started as a promotional event for Reppert’s fledgling herb business and for New York State grown garlic. Hudson Valley Garlic Festival has an astonishing variety of garlic varieties and venders complimented by great entertainment. The garlic takes center stage here and everything else revolves around it. If you are looking to sample the full range of garlic flavors or wear garlic on your hat, this is the place to do it. For the grower or cook there are many garlic growers selling exotic garlic seed or culinary garlic.
3. Oregon - Annual North Plains Elephant Garlic Festival
Where: North Plains, Oregon
When: August 11-13, 2015
The North Plains Elephant Garlic Festival started out as a community event called North Plains Days back in 1994. It featured a parade, bed races and other simple pleasures like live music. Gradually vendors were added to sell food and crafts and the event was expanded to three days. This festival focuses on elephant garlic (actually a member of the leek family) not 'real' garlic. They have one of the best website addresses, however: funstinks.com!
4. Florida – Delray Beach Garlic Fest
Where: Delray Beach, Florida
When: February 6-8, 2015
The Delray Beach Garlic Fest continues to live up to its reputation for being the premier food and entertainment event in South Florida. The event is dedicated to exploring the numerous health and culinary possibilities of garlic. Countless recipes and unique dishes have been created by professional chefs in the Garlic Chef cooking competition and by our Gourmet Alley concessionaires including Garlic Ice Cream, Argentinean Garlic BBQ and Garlic Fest crab cakes. The Garlic Fest has been featured on the Food Network and in countless national newspapers and magazines. Now in its 16th year, the Delray Beach Garlic has become an institution in Palm Beach County and is affectionately named “The Best Stinkin’ Party in Town.
5. Washington – Northwest Garlic Festival
Where: Ocean Park, Washington
When: June 20-21, 2015
The Northwest Garlic Festival features fun family entertainment with a variety of venders, food and live music. Celebrate the passion for the “exalted bulb" with the faithful throngs who make their annual pilgrimage to this celebration on the Long Beach Peninsula. This Garlic Olympics of Gastronomy is not held for the region's Garlic growing ability. This Festival was born out of love of great, Garlic laden cuisine. See their collection of garlic decor and clothes, including jewelry and hats! Try out their selection of hand made garlic soaps. Those with an artistic eye can try their hand at the annual garlic poster contest. Garlic festivals are a great way to party down!
You can enjoy a garlic festival or just eat some at home. Either way, you should watch our how to peel garlic video.