On behalf of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bennington community, I want to welcome you to the 21st Annual Garlic and Herb Festival happening this coming Labor Day weekend on Saturday and Sunday. This two-day event was attended by nearly 15,000 people last year and has been named one of Vermont's "Top Ten Events of the Year," selected as a "Top Event" by Yankee Magazine's Best of New England, and recently considered as one of the Top 10 Garlic Festivals in the world.
Located at Camelot Village on Route 9, the gates to the event open at 10am both days and close by 5pm. Tickets are a reasonably priced $8 ($6 if you buy online ahead of time at lovegarlic.com) and $2 for kids. Parking is free, but if you can, we encourage you to carpool or walk. We want to make this affordable and a fun weekend for the whole family.
This year we have over 200 vendors with an array of garlic-inspired booths, from garlic popcorn, to garlic wreathes, to garlic chocolate, there are the traditional items for garlic lovers and items for the more adventurous.
Along with the garlic vendors, the event is widely known for its assortment of great food vendors. This year we have over 20! This year the event welcomes back favorites like Lemon Love, Pops (popcorn), Bart's Ice Cream, Good To Go (dumplings), Loopy's (crepes, espresso, and smoothies), and Sherri's Crabcakes. Local food vendors include Bennington Lions' Club, Ramunto's Pizza, and Hound Dogs. Some new food vendors have been added including Reggae Boy Café (Jamaican food), Caja Madera (Mexican food), RJ's Famous, and Vermont Botanical Beverages.
Music is always a highlight of our event. Saturday's line up includes Aviva (10am), Hill Hollow (11:30am), Julie Shea Band (1pm), and The Legato Blues Band (3pm). Sunday's line-up includes Ray Gifford (10am), Carma (11:30), Roadhouse (1pm), FunkintheTrunk (3pm).
Ramunto's Pizzeria will be the featured "Beer and Wine Garden" provider for both days. Their tent will include Vermont Craft Brews, wine, specialty drinks like Garlic Bloody Marys & Garlic Margaritas, giveaways and raffles all weekend long.
Demonstrations begin Saturday morning and continue throughout the weekend on subjects including planting, growing, braiding, and cooking different garlic varieties.
The Kids' Tent returns with activities from Home Depot, Gamer's Grotto, Vermont Wooden Blocks, a juggler, bounce houses, as well as other fun events. The Roaming Railroad returns as transportation around the event.
Every year this event seems to get better and better. We have such a dedicated group of individuals – from local businesses, organizations, to volunteers, staff and the community — that come together to make this event successful. Over the years we've seen visitors from as far as Texas and Alaska, even Germany and China, come to really enjoy all that Bennington and Vermont have to offer.
Garlicfest is the town's major event of the year. I'm very proud of the team that continually puts on a world-renowned event. It's a testimony to the volunteerism and dedication of our community to rally around this event each year.
For aspiring gardeners, garlic growers, garlic lovers or those simply looking for a fun way to spend a late summer weekend, we invite all to enjoy Garlicfest!
Matt Harrington is executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.