New England Fall Events visited the Annual Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival in Bennington, Vermont in early September.
The 2016 VT Garlic and Herb Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 3rd & 4th, 2016. Click for event details.
True to its name, this award-winning festival is paradise for aficionados of the stinking rose. With just under 200 vendors this year, the two-day festival has a little something for everyone (even non-garlic eaters) and offers hours of entertainment for the entire family. To be clear, this is a "bucket list" festival--one of those events that you must experience at least once in your lifetime.
Although there were dozens of vendors selling colorful baskets, unique jewelry and stunning artwork, this is largely a food festival where you'll have the opportunity to try pretty much garlic everything; garlic-infused lemonade, fudge, pickles, hot sauce, jelly, sausages, jerky, chocolate chip shortbread cookies... you name it and someone here has likely made it - even garlic soap, guaranteed to keep away "vampires, mosquitoes and in-laws."
We also munched on chocolate-covered bacon from Bennington's own The Village Chocolate Shop. Okay, maybe there was no actual garlic in these sweet and salty tidbits, but how could we not try it? An equally fabulous experience - tasted a bit like chocolate-covered caramel, although we're a little fuzzy on the culinary alchemy involved.
Garlic bulbs were offered for sale throughout the festival - too many varieties to count. These could be purchased for cooking or to plant in your own garden, if you are so inclined.
Throughout the day, kids rode the perimeter of the festival on Thomas the Train, squealed in delight watching jugglers and comedians, and burned off energy as they played in the various themed bounce houses. A colorfully-dressed man on stilts wandered the festival entertaining the crowd. And if your kids are not fans of garlic, not to worry - there are plenty of non-garlic edibles to be had as well, like BBQ chicken, corn-on-the-cob and wood-fired pizza.
You'll find Porta-Potties galore, in the parking lot as well as at the festival, each with its own bottle of hand sanitizer. There are also restrooms inside the antique shop, although these are limited.
There is nothing about a ride through the beautiful Vermont countryside, the friendly people you will meet or the entertainment you will enjoy to possibly regret making the trip to the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival. Over the past 20 years, this event has grown into a destination unto itself and we can only imagine that next year will be even better.
Tips for Visiting the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival
Numerous picnic tables and benches are available in the food court and near the stage so you can sit and rest or enjoy a meal with a touch of live music.