Our view: Kudos to those who make Garlicfest happen

The annual Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival finished its 22nd year this past weekend, and it did not disappoint.

The festival, dubbed "Garlicfest" by many, drew a reported 9,600 people to the area on Saturday. The sun was shining, temperatures were cool and comfortable, and the crowd was thick. Sunday brought with it rain and colder temperatures, but those didn't seem to dampen anyone's good time.

The festival is put on by the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, along with the help and sponsorship of many other groups as well as an army of volunteers.

If you've never been to the Garlicfest, you're missing out. It's held at Camelot Village to the west off Route 9. The Bennington County Sheriff's Department keeps traffic moving while volunteers direct the parking once attendees have arrived. The price of admission is low, $8, and there are scores of vendors selling far more than garlic.

Cheeses, gin, rum, and vodka, high-end vinegars, pickles, hot sauces, folk art, jewelry, smoked meats, walking sticks, kitchen tools, household decorations, and more can be found among the rows of vendors, many of them regulars at the Garlicfest. One vendor was even selling ostrich eggs.

At one end of the festival grounds, under heavy shade, are the food trucks. Jamaican, Lebanese, German, just about every corner of the world is represented. You can listen to live music while you eat as well.

It's good to hear that the Chamber is taking surveys and changes each year to keep people happy and things fresh. Annual events are a bit like gardens: They need to be tended if they're to continue and bear fruit ... or in this case, garlic bulbs. New this year was Garlicfest merchandise, activities aimed at older children, and "street" signs, the latter being helpful for when you inevitably separate from those you came with and need to find them again.

What really caught our eye this time around was the attention paid towards waste removal. Big events generate a lot of trash and it's important to keep as much of it out of landfills as possible. Barrels for trash, recycling, and compost were available along with volunteers standing by to make sure things went where they were supposed to. It looked like a dirty job, but we're glad someone stepped up to do it.

On that note, we'd like to thank anyone who had a hand in making the Garlicfest come together this year, and in year's past. Events like these don't come together on their own and we're lucky to have folks willing to do it.


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