Now celebrating its 21st year, the Pocono Garlic Festival is a Labor Day weekend must do that is held at Shawnee Ski Mountain area. Proud to be known as the “stinkiest” festival for two decades, the event attracts thousands of foul-mouthed diners seeking something reeking of garlic, and each year this festival happily delivers.
Attendees can expect a gastronomic garlic extravagance that can boast one of a kind garlic laced prepared foods, art, regional garlic to buy, growing seminars, and even daily garlic eating contests. (Last year’s winner ate 4.5 ounces of garlic within a minute.) The festival is also proud to be highlighting our local restaurants by hosting its second “Chopped Style” Cooking Competition and a newly added local Fire Company Grill Off.
This year, there will be just about sixty vendors paying tribute to the stinky stuff to eat in, take out, or just bask in the beauty of it. The two-day event has patrons consuming everything from the traditional garlic pull pork to the not so common garlic chocolate chip cookies. Love of garlic is very apparent with those who make this a regular pilgrimage to purchase the specialty food items only found at the Pocono Garlic Festival.
“People get really passionate about garlic. It’s infused in most everyone’s culture. If you really think about it, you can find garlic in just about every ethnic dish you can imagine: Mexican, Italian, Polish, Regional American, Thai, Greek; the list is too long to mention all, but it is a common dominator when you think about a delicious meal. I believe it’s a recipe of longevity for the Pocono Garlic Festival. Where else can taste your way around the world in just one day?!” exclaimed Sharon Rothman, 2015 PGF Communications Manager. “As every year, the festival tries to focus on highlighting local businesses. We are happy to announce some new to the line up are Garlic cupcakes from Kitchen Chemistry, Vegetarian Dishes by Quench, Garlic Scones by Cafe Duet, all from Stroudsburg, PA.”
The festival prides itself on good old family fun, and with the price of admission, people can enjoy three stages of continuous entertainment, which include local musicians, local performers, magicians, a petting zoo, a children fun area, education seminars, live native animal shows, as well as hands-on artisans’ demonstrations hosted by Peter’s Valley Crafts School.
Local garlic growers began the festival in conjunction with the region’s annual garlic harvest. Many festival goers continue to look forward to products produced by some of area Pennsylvania farms that founded the event. Patrons look forward each season to purchasing locally harvested hardback garlic, as well as locally produced products such as Rolling Hills Farm of Salyorsburg Original Garlic Vinegar, Knob View Farms of Cherry Valley garlic salt, Mountaindale Farms Garple (maple syrup infused garlic vinegar) and Josie Porter Farms garlic starter kits.
PGF founder and Brookside Farmer Carl Andrews exclaimed, “It’s amazing how large it grew from the just four farm stands; I never imagined it could be this big.” Andrew explained that the notion of the festival started one year that there was a bumper crop of garlic, which blossomed into the first festival in the back of St. Luke’s Church parking lot in Stroudsburg. He said, “We knew we had something because each year more people came for more garlic, and every year we sold out.” Although Andrews no longer has a farm stand at the festival, he is still part of the PGF and can be found at the information booth during the event. This year there will be sixteen regional farmers selling some unique and organic hard neck varieties that include names like Music, Legacy, Spanish Roja, Italian Purple, and German White garlic.
Roman Osadca is a New Jersey garlic farmer and has been part of the festival for over a decade. Osadca will be hosting a garlic growing tips seminar in their education tent. “I think that the festival infrastructure, program, and events get better and smoother each year; we just have a lot of fun with it.” Osadca’s favorite garlic advice to gardeners: “Garlics from all over the world do well in Northwestern New Jersey soils and climate. Some need several years to acclimate and grow well. Just be patient.”
The two days of extraordinary garlic laced festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 5th and 6th, Labor Day Weekend. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. daily.
Visit www.poconogarlic.com to find out more information on entertainment schedules, food vendors, and local farms participating. Tickets can be purchased in advance online with considerable savings, Two Day Pass is $15.00 and One Day Adult $9.00/ Children $7.50 and under 4 FREE. During the event, at gate prices for general Admission are $12.50,Two Day Pass $17.00 and Children (ages 5-12) $ 8.50.