Spearheaded by Lion Stuart Wood of the Vankleek Hill & District Lions Club, this newcomer festival aims a giving fans of agriculture and food a more focused event.

Taking place at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre’s outdoor skating rink concrete surface, the first annual Garlic Festival will feature everything a garlic enthusiast could possibly want: local organic growers and vendors, samplers, recipes, guest speakers and live music.

So far, the event has approximately ten different vendors lined up from both Ontario and Québec. Through these vendors, the curious will get to admire, sample and purchase many varieties of garlic.

“Each vendor will have anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 heads of garlic for sale,” said Wood.

“We’re looking for growers that are local, organic and passionate about what they do.”

The event will also feature guest speakers Paul Pospisil and Dorothy Oogarah, local garlic legends both.

Pospisil is the editor of The Garlic News and, according to Wood, is considered “the guru of garlic in Ontario”.

“He’s so knowledgeable. He studies different diseases one can find in the soil, analyzes challenges with pests and holds an annual garlic information session on the last Sunday of every month of June. He’ll be able to talk to people who might have interest in starting to grow garlic or who are having challenges,” explained Wood.

The second speaker, Oogarah, is another garlic celebrity and will also be counted among the vendors.

“She won ‘Garlic grower of the year’ for Eastern Ontario last September,” stated Wood.

When surrounded by people who harbour deep passion for an obscure topic, one can’t help but encounter new and exciting things.

“There’s a new product on the market called ‘black garlic’,” said Wood.

“It’s roasted and kind of like many other fruit or vegetables today, they sometimes mix it with chocolate and have all sorts of ways to include it in cooking. It’s very nice!”

According to Wood, some vendors should have garlic scapes in their inventory, for those who enjoy using it in their recipes. Others will have recipes on hand, including ideas for home-made vinaigrette.

For those interested

The First Annual Garlic Festival will take place on Sunday, September 9, 2018, from 10am to 6pm – rain or shine. There should already be lots of foodies in town for the annual Festival of Flavours, taking place on Vankleek Hill’s Main Street.

Anyone interested in more information on the Garlic Festival can contact Stuart Wood at 613 306-1944.

The event is organized by the Vankleek Hill & District Lions Club and admission is free, but free-will donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go to local charities. More information on the Lions can be found at VKHLionsClub.ca.