gigantic garlic shaped balloon at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

A gigantic garlic balloon floats in the sky every year

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.

Bunches of garlic by Garlic Delite Farm

Bunches of garlic by Garlic Delite Farm

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”

Fresh leeks by Earthy Mirth Farm

Fresh leeks by Earthy Mirth Farm

“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.

A scarecrow with a sign for garlic ice cream at Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Try some of Guido’s delicious garlic ice cream!

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.

garlic samples to taste by Six Cycles Farm at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Six Cycles Farm offers garlic samples to try

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.”

Bunches of Sweet Annie herb for sale by Eartthly Mirth Farm at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Aromatic ‘Sweet Annie’ herb by Earthly Mirth Farm

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.”

a chalk board sign advertising garlic by Wild Shepherd Farm at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Garlic by Wild Shepherd Farm -savor the flavors!

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.

squash, dried flowers and cat toys by Marsh Meadow Farm at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

A variety of produce is available at the fair, including these cat toys, squash and dried flowers by Marsh Meadow Farm

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!”

a large garlic-shaped balloon with the Kiwanis Club logo

Thank you to the Kiwanis Club for making the Garlic Festival happen year after year

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.

Andy and the Garlic Family at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Andy and Garlic Family say “Hi!”