Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The annual Hills Garlic Festival

Originally posted on Multiply, September 14 2009

 A selection of my best garlic. The bed in newly dug soil resulted in perfect bulbs without a sign of fungus, hurray!

Yesterday was the second Sunday of September and around here that means one thing: time for the 17th annual Hills Garlic Fest. It outgrew its original location: the lawn around the community hall in Hills, an incredibly beautiful rural residential area between Nakusp and New Denver.

It started out as a community potluck to celebrate the harvest, featuring GARLIC! The very first one was just a bunch of neighbors coming together, but later ones opened up to the larger community. I was at the second one and have not missed many. There was always music and delicious things to eat, crazy contests for the fiercest garlic breath and the best garlic poem, and eventually some vendors. The vendors did great, word spread, and the party grew and grew.....

The person who really put it on the map was my friend Magda Bajer. She organized the fest for several years in the late nineties and never received a penny for all her hard work.
The big breakthrough came when Magda boldly invited popular CBC radio personality Arthur Black to come, and he did! This got the Hills Garlic Fest national attention. 
In 2003 the combination of sheer size and a bad fire season necessitated the move to the municipal park in New Denver. This view of the Lucerne glacier dominates the park.
This booth was on the beach side. Glorious Slocan Lake behind.

The count for this year isn't in yet, but last year close to 7000 people attended.
Alas, I forgot my camera this year. These pictures are from 2008. The day was just as gorgeous and not much has changed.
Real Jamaican ginger beer is a total treat.
Above: Old hippies never die. The HAIR just changes colour.
Below: who says face painting is just for the kids?
There are line-ups everywhere! If memory serves this one was for the booth with Russian food. If memory is wrong, the Russian booth did have a line-up so if this one goes to the porta-potties I stand corrected.
We were lucky. Rosie, my friend with PD, was part of our group so we could zoom ahead to handicapped parking. Getting rid of the car is getting to be a major nightmare.
It is still a fun happening, but those of us who were there at the beginning are nostalgic for the original intimate celebration. So it goes.

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