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Garlic Festivals

KEYSTONE STATE GARLIC FESTIVAL '94:

The first Keystone State Garlic Festival took place Saturday, August 20, 1994. It was hosted by Green Horizon Herb Farm, which is located in North Central Pennsylvania, near Bloomsburg. Blessed with sunny weather, we estimated at least 1,000 people came wanting to know all about "glorious garlic."

Carolyn and I addressed the eager group. We talked about the different varieties and types of garlic, when and how to plant it, what to fertilize it with, when to harvest, and how to cure the crop. We also tried to squeeze in a little on the health benefits of garlic and how to cook with it. Fellow GSF members Keith Culver and John Zadiraka gave a brief rundown of their operations. Trying to squeeze all this information into two hours is almost impossible. Next year we'll have sessions with specific topics throughout the day.

Judging by the endless questions, people in PA are just as eager to learn about garlic as we've found them to be at Saugerties. We were quite pleased that four out-of-state growers made the trip to Bloomsburg: Gambino Brothers, Garlic Galore Farm, Merrifield Garlic Merchants, and Cobblestone Acres. We hope to have other PA garlic growers sell next year besides ourselves.

We haven't worked out a date for next year's festival yet, but see no reason why it won't at least double in size. We're compiling a list of garlic growers and vendors who might like to attend next year. Please contact us and we'll get back to you when details are finalized. Contact: Martin Horvat & Carolyn Force, Pozy Heaven, RR #1, Box 531, Jersey Shore, PA 17740 (717-753-5513).

VIRGINIA GARLIC FESTIVAL:

FOG (Friends of Garlic) held the Fourth Annual Virginia Garlic Festival at Rebec Vineyards on the 8th and 9th of October. On a beautiful sunny fall weekend 6,000 to 8,000 garlic lovers attended the festival.

Although nowhere near the crowd we had at Saugerties, they were a much "happier" group, since the festival was co-sponsored by Rebec Wineries along with the Virginia Garlic Association. Four other wineries also had booths there. Attendees could purchase a souvenir wine glass at the gate and sample forty Virginia wines, thus we had a lot of happy people with odorific breath. There was a variety of music on four stages all day long.

Some of the Garlic Events included a Garlic Eating Contest (but they used elephant garlic); a Garlic Queen Contest (junior and senior divisions); a Garlic Cook-Off; and garlic talks on health and cooking. Many different types of vendors were represented: Shiitake mushroom logs (for growing), painted gourds, honey products, cider, chiropractic exams and information, goat milk products, llamas and alpacas, corn husk dolls, and peanut vendors.

This strange mix made for a wonderful festival and a great weekend with our new Virginia friends. We definitely plan to do it again next year.

We garlic growers were eleven strong. Two of us - Jim O'Brian/Linda Kelley of Cobblestone Acres in Stanley, NY, and ourselves, Martin Horvat/Carolyn Force of Pozy Heaven in Jersey Shore, PA - were the only GSF members. We talked to the other growers and all seemed interested in GSF and eagerly took applications and will become members, we hope. We gave many other garlic lovers applications and information, so we should have a lot of new members from Virginia and surrounding states. We even met some garlic lovers from Denmark and Washington State.

The best part of the Virginia Festival was the many new friends we made among the vendors and garlic lovers. We introduced hardneck garlic to a lot of people and know they won't be happy with that supermarket garlic anymore. We've already received calls from festival customers wanting more.

Many thanks to FOG and Richard Hanson (Rebec Vineyards) for a wonderful festival.

HUDSON VALLEY GARLIC FESTIVAL '95:

The sun did shine on Sunday, September 25, 1994 - the day of the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival. And it was "stand back" time to accommodate the crowds that streamed into Saugerties for the Third Annual Hudson Valley Garlic Festival with great garlic food, fresh garlic grown by members of the Garlic Seed Foundation, the Chefs' Cooking Demonstration, the Garlic Lecture Series, craft show and entertainment.

An estimated 30,000 people attended this year's Festival, more than doubling last year's attendance of 13,000 to 15,000 people. But of course last year it was raining. The really amazing thing was that there was more of a traffic jam with this Festival and 30,000 people than it was for 400,000 people at the Woodstock II concert, which had occurred 6 weeks previous to the Garlic Festival, but then we didn't have the benefit of most of New York State's police force helping to divert and direct traffic. But everyone is asking, "What are we going to do about traffic for next year?" as we are preparing for 50,000 to 60,000 people.

The Garlic Board has been busy now for three months evaluating last year's Festival and working on plans for next year. There will be ways found to cope with the thousands of cars and people, even if we do have to call in help from surrounding communities.

In comparing 1993's Festival to 1994's Festival, we increased the number of food vendors by 35%, Craft and Business Vendors by 100%. Many of the Food Vendors are professional restauranteurs or caterers, so we are not actively soliciting Food Vendors, as most of these people can gear up to serve more people.

However, at this time we are open to sign up more Food Vendors as well as Craft and Business Vendors - so if you know of someone who would like to come to the Garlic Festival and sell good, heavy duty garlic food, tell them to get in touch with Jack Wilsey at PO Box 443, Saugerties, NY 12477 and ask for an application as well as booth fees. Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope. All Vendors do have to comply with Ulster County Public Health Department regulations and get a temporary health permit for the day. If others would like to be Business Vendors or Craft Vendors, then please contact Dr. Richard Kappler at the same address as above and include a SASE.

A member of the Garlic Seed Foundation will be signing up growers for the Garlic Farmer's Marketplace, one of the most active areas at the Festival. So grow lots of garlic this year and bring it all to the Festival. The 20-foot Garlic Braid was a big success last year - and I hope we can do it again, as it really helps in selling raffle tickets.

So if you love garlic the way we love garlic, mark your calendars for Sunday, September 24, 1995 for the 4th Annual Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY. The Garlic Seed Foundation meets on Saturday, September 23, 1995 in Saugerties. There is information elsewhere in this newsletter. If you need press releases or flyers, please write to Pat Reppert, Shale Hill Farm, 134 Hommelville Road, Saugerties, NY.

BATAVIA GARLIC FESTIVAL:

On Saturday, August 13, 1994, the first Western New York Garlic Harvest Festival was held at the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia. On a grey, rainy day, over one thousand people paid admission to learn more about garlic and to purchase our very recently harvested garlic crop.

Sixteen garlic growers set up shop in the Market Building. The gates opened at 10 AM, and a steady flow of customers talked, touched, and purchased garlic. By 4 PM, things began to thin out and growers were ready to head for home.

In addition to the "Garlic Market," Lectures and Demonstrations were held in an adjacent building, concurrent with live music and a Food Court in the third building. Fortunately for everyone, all the activity was under roof.

Based on the success of this festival, we are planning the Second Annual, to be held August 12, 1995 at the the same location.

And a special thank-you to the great garlic growers who provided the public such a great crop!

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