From garlic ice cream to garlic-roasted pig-on-a-stick, there isn’t much in the way of garlic-fare that The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival (September 27-28; www.hvgf.org) hasn’t proffered. Founded in 1989 by Pat Reppert of Shale Hill Farm and Herb Gardens to promote his garlic-growing enterprise, today, the annual event brings together garlic lovers of all kinds: stroller-pushers, couples right out of the ’70s, and jolly groups of round-bellied men.
At the festival grounds in Saugerties, New York, the sweet aromas of late-summer air meld with heady notes of hay and the occasional waft of the sharp herb. Down one straight gravel road lies all the garlic-laden goods you can dream of; lines of revelers stretch from either end, and elbowing your way through to each new booth (say, for the last blooming onion with garlic-ranch dip) is not without difficulty. Hardcore garlic hoarders shop for purple-stripe and silver-skin varieties, from nearby farms.
A less-pungent area devoted to artisanal goods offers local honey straws in myriad flavors, pickles so salty you’ll need a quart of the homemade lemonade to wash them down, and sugar-glazed roasted nuts. Craft vendors sell simple pottery and handmade jewelry, lavender- and eucalyptus-scented soaps, and artwork portraying the celebrated herb; acoustic, folk, and country musicians play live all day near the children’s section, with its climbing wall and arts-and-crafts tent.
Whether you’re looking for the bulb in all its reincarnated forms, or just a nice way to spend an afternoon in the Valley, be sure to pack some gum—this festival will knock your taste buds off.