This festival in celebration of an alum know by some as the stinking rose, avoided by those who seek to kiss their sweetheart, and banned from those on a sattvic diet because of its disruption of meditation practices and invigoration of the central nervous system occurs every October in Orange, Massachussets.
The Garlic and Arts fest is one of my favorite times of the year. Occurring in the fall right around the time of the garlic harvest and replanting for the following year, this festival is jam packed with local foods, arts, music, handicrafts, and stinky breath.
Why does supporting local businesses at the Garlic fest matter? Well without the numerous vendors peppered all over the lawn, the garlic and arts festival would not likely happen. Many come to get maple sugar cotton candy – for which the line is always long – art, locally grown foods to bring home, and handicrafts.
While I was expecting the garlic ice cream to taste like garlic my first bite into the pungent coldness still shocked me. ‘It tastes like garlic!’ I exclaimed causing my friends around me to crack up. For me, this novelty item was great to try once and certainly left me with the flavor of the event rolling around my tongue.
It is festivals like this that allow for a region to develop and celebrate its own flavor and feel at the end of a successful season. Not only can fairs like this help people to feel more tied to their community, they give people something to look forward to every year, they also have the potential to increase tourism and local revenue in a way that an amusement park can’t touch because the ownership is local and spread out amongst many beneficiaries.
So if you are ever in Western Massachusetts in October, make it a point to visit Orange for the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival and check out part of what makes us special.