The Saugerties Garlic Festival was recently voted the ‘Best Festival in the Hudson Valley’ by readers of Hudson Valley magazine. This is a huge achievement, especially as the festival is organized and run 100% by volunteers from the Saugerties Kiwanis club.
I spoke to Beth Bechtold who does PR for the festival and asked her why the festival is such as long-standing success. “We try to keep it family orientated and not overly commercialized. The vendors are independent businesses or small farms. There are no big retailers and there’s a good variety of music and entertainment. There will be four stages this year”
“Visitors come back year after year and know where to find their favorite vendors because repeat vendors are given the same booth every year.” This is very helpful, because there are thousands of people attending.
The Saugerties Kiwanis club has a team of 45 people working on the Garlic Festival with a committee of 15. They start planning in January with regular monthly meetings.
Beth explained that “All the money raised at the Saugerties Garlic Festival goes to the local community to support various organizations and sports. These include the ice arena, the Boys and Girls Club, baseball facilities, educational scholarships, the food pantry, Christmas lights, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the 4th of July fireworks. They also support several youth sports leagues.”
What’s new for 2015? Beth told me that ‘I Love New York’ tourism will be there with an interactive booth. A new vendor will be here for the 2nd year with delicious Maine Lobster.”
As always there will be a children’s craft tent where parents can leave their children in the capable hands of the local key Club for a while.
Beth described how some people are surprised that no alcohol is sold “One year, a Russian TV station came up from NYC and interviewed me at the Garlic Festival. Then they went looking for garlic vodka and were surprised there wasn’t any!”
The garlic festival is on Saturday September 26th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday 27th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $10 at the gate, $7 in advance, reduced admission for seniors and children. Tickets can be purchased online here.