Simon Khatsinkov (left), 3, and brother Ethan Khatsinkov, 5, test their tastebuds during the Lac la Hache Garlic Festival’s garlic eating contest. Monika Paterson photo.

Garlic breath or bust: festival a delight

Garlic breath or bust: Garlic festival a delight

Many had a reason to carry mints with them this weekend, as they walked from booth to booth in Lac la Hache, testing the tasty — albeit pungent — garlic wares on display.

The annual Lac la Hache Garlic Festival took place over the weekend, on Sept. 23 and 24, a month later than it was originally planned for in August.

Despite the delays, the festival was a “stinkin’ good time,” as promised, with activities for children, a clown, and everything from fresh garlic to garlic-flavoured chocolate ice cream.

“It went very, very well. I was very impressed,” says Jeanette McCrea, festival co-ordinator.

“It was busy, good, the weatherman co-operated.”

Despite a brief spout of rain on Sunday (enough to add some dew to the fresh herbs), the weather stayed agreeable.

With 2425 paying guests, the time delay didn’t hurt the festival either.

When the option of postponing or cancelling the festival came up, McCrea says that vendors asked her to plan it for September.

“The vendors said we haven’t had much this summer, all our events have been cancelled, so if you could do it that would be great. So I said yes,” she says.

“It was great. Everybody seemed really happy. A lot of people said I’m really glad you put the festival on, it’s time for us to get back to normal.”

Dr. Mike Wolf displays his enthusiasm for the tasty herb, after winning the garlic eating contest at the Garlic Festival. Monika Paterson photo.

While children may protest when a particularly garlicky food may land on their plate, none were complaining at the event, which provided a kid’s tent, a chance to take a ride on a pony or the ability to test out the firetruck hose on some (wooden) flames.

“There seemed to be more families partaking this year. I saw a lot of kids, more so than ever, so I think people just needed something fun to do and we provided that,” says McCrea. “There is something fun for the entire family”

While garlic is the main flavour of the event, McCrea says it’s more than just that.

“There are vendors with spices and syrups that contain garlic, so they are partaking in the garlic that way, but there is just a whole lot of other artisans out there to show their stuff,” she says. “It’s mostly one of a kind handmade stuff and turns out it’s a great spot for it.”

McCrea says it’s how well rounded the festival is — from the garlic eating competitions, vendors, and entertainment — that keeps people coming back.

“You can have a whole entire fun day, two days out there and not want for anything,” she says.

“I was just happy to see everybody happy. Everybody had smiles on their faces.”

Even Garlina, the garlic mascot, had a smile on her face.

“It was time to get back on track. It’s time to forget about the bad summer we had and look to a more positive future,” says McCrea.

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Sue Lyncot from Prince George struts a garlic scarf picked up at the Garlic Festival. Monika Paterson photo.

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