Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Festival Stinks

I’ve wanted to get out to Gilroy, Calif., for the annual Garlic Fest ever since I first heard about it back in the ’70s, but I still haven’t made it. The idea of celebrating the pungent, flavorful bulb, nicknamed the stinking rose, with two days of themed food and country fair fun appeals to me.
Who wouldn’t want to try garlic ice cream at least once in your life? And I’m not alone: 100,000 or so showed up during the three day party there in July. Happily I don’t have to go across the country for the experience this year.
The North Union Farmers Market is hosting a Garlic Festival of its own, the first ever for the city and the Midwest. On Sept. 11 and 12, Shaker Square will be filled with chefs, farmers, vendors, arts-n-crafters and musicians. Like the West coast event that inspired it, the schedule features cooks-offs, the crowning of Miss Garlic, her court, and a festival king and queen. There will be beer and wine for grown-ups, activities for kids, bands on stage, and lots of good things to eat on the spot and to take home. Unless you count yourself among the undead, this is definitely the place you want to be this weekend. Tickets are $10 for adults, $3 for kids day of, but discounts are available online for family packages and early bird purchasers, along with a detailed schedule.

More food focused goings on at Visible Voice, the Tremont bookstore, on Saturday. The noon-9 p.m. program, called Fresh: going local in an urban environment, is devoted to the topic of urban agriculture. Local activists, educators and growers will be giving talks, relevant books will be sale priced, the documentary Fresh will be screened multiple times. Learn what’s happening and why it matters, ask questions, and show your support by sipping wine made in the region.

Don’t choose. Attend both. Enjoy!

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