Garlic & Arts Festival brings its scent to the Valley

By Leslie Rosenfield

Courtesy of MCT

Saturday, Oct. 2 and Sunday Oct. 3 brought great joy to Western Mass., as the 12th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival took place at Forsters Farm .

Many families, students and anyone who loved garlic and the arts came out for this fun-filled and quirky experience.

The rain cleared, and only sunshine and a brisk breeze swept through Orange, Mass. This haven of garlic and arts came together for two days to honor and to highlight local products, owners and artists.

As you walked in, looking down at the big garlic stamp placed on your hand upon entry, the sweet aroma of food prepared by local chefs and restaurant owners overcame your senses.

Rows upon rows of booths of everything from hand-made wooden instruments, knit gloves and pottery all the way to organically produced foods and health products were enough to excite any viewer.

All the homemade scarves, jewelry and hand bags were a hit but some stands took the spotlight.

The pesto stand that displayed six different varieties of pesto ranging from honey down to maple pesto had the festival-goers going back for fourths and fifths.

Another great hit was the pickle stand; “Real Pickles” from Montague, Mass. had an assortment of mild and spicy local organic naturally fermented pickles.

Many booths showed works of art in pottery, paintings and beautifully crafted wooden bowls. You could just lose yourself in the midst of these booths, but the aromas and sounds from the other end of the field brought you closer to the stage.

Live music was put on by local artists such as Steve Crow, Melanie and the Blue Shots and folk-fan favorite Kris Delmhorst.

Along with great live music came booths of deliciously prepared foods from local chefs, farms and restaurants.

Making your way down the aisle, all of the sweet smells of garlic, meats and vegetables had your mouth watering even before the purchase of one of these scrumptious meals.

Grandparents, parents and children waited on-line, conversing with other patrons talking and bonding over the day of music, crafts and food that put a smile on everyone’s face everywhere you looked.

Many people enjoyed the salmon cakes and root vegetable quesadilla made by Lone Wolfe Farms.

Each bite had your taste buds jumping and dancing to the rhythm of the music in the background. Another fan-favorite was the Pad Thai made with chicken or tofu for $7. The hefty plateful made up for the somewhat lofty price.

In the midst of live music, food and crafts was a cleared space for all who enjoy the past time of hula-hooping. Men, women and children of all ages dropped their bags and sunglasses to revert back to their younger, care-free days of this fun act.

The festival definitely encompassed the artistic side of local designers and shop owners, however the actual lack of garlic was quite a surprise.

The main event is featured in the title but did not make a big appearance. Some people attending the festivities had noticed this as well and hoped for more garlic-related facets.

Overall, the festival brought out a huge, easy-going and relaxed crowd that really enjoyed the simple details of food, music and garlic.

We can be sure that next year’s event will be just as great. If you missed out on this fun adventure, don’t worry because on Nov. 20 and 21, North Quabbin Woods will be hosting The Thanksgiving Harvest Festival, which will hopefully also entail food, crafts and lots of fun.

Leslie Rosenfield can be reached at [email protected]