South Cariboo Garlic festival a smash hit

Attendees of the South Cariboo Garlic Festival line up for food. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Attendees of the South Cariboo Garlic Festival line up for food. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Even a spot of rain couldn’t keep Vince Forseille and Lux Hunter from enjoying the South Cariboo Garlic Festival thanks to their colourful umbrellas. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Even a spot of rain couldn’t keep Vince Forseille and Lux Hunter from enjoying the South Cariboo Garlic Festival thanks to their colourful umbrellas. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
South Cariboo Garlic Festival attendees flock around a booth selling semi-precious stones. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)South Cariboo Garlic Festival attendees flock around a booth selling semi-precious stones. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dozens of necklaces hang on display at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dozens of necklaces hang on display at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Chilliwack’s Jade Rankin closes her eyes as she gets her face painted at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Chilliwack’s Jade Rankin closes her eyes as she gets her face painted at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The Old Country Foods truck was swarmed by attendees of the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The Old Country Foods truck was swarmed by attendees of the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Julie Bennett selects a clove of garlic while browsing the wares of Bessette Creek Farm’s booth during the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Julie Bennett selects a clove of garlic while browsing the wares of Bessette Creek Farm’s booth during the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Desire Duff and Brandi Smith man the booth of Bessette Creek Farm selling eight different varieties of garlic. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Desire Duff and Brandi Smith man the booth of Bessette Creek Farm selling eight different varieties of garlic. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Cariboo Calico Quilters Kathy Dewar and Connie Baker attended the South Cariboo Garlic Festival to sell raffle tickets for the quilt hanging behind them. The raffle runs until October 19 with tickets going for $2 apiece. Dewar and Baker said the tickets can be bought from guild members or by contacting cariboocalicoquilters@gmail.com. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Cariboo Calico Quilters Kathy Dewar and Connie Baker attended the South Cariboo Garlic Festival to sell raffle tickets for the quilt hanging behind them. The raffle runs until October 19 with tickets going for $2 apiece. Dewar and Baker said the tickets can be bought from guild members or by contacting cariboocalicoquilters@gmail.com. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Spencer Gebauer laughs with glee as he pretends to drive one of the Lac La Hache Volunteer Fire Department’s fire trucks at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Spencer Gebauer laughs with glee as he pretends to drive one of the Lac La Hache Volunteer Fire Department’s fire trucks at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Spencer Gebauer laughs with glee as he pretends to drive one of the Lac La Hache Volunteer Fire Department’s fire trucks at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Spencer Gebauer laughs with glee as he pretends to drive one of the Lac La Hache Volunteer Fire Department’s fire trucks at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Brounynn Mullett, 2, enjoys some corn on the cob at her first South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Brounynn Mullett, 2, enjoys some corn on the cob at her first South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Paxton Heal smiles as he gets an airbrush tattoo from Dean Allan of Brushworks Art and Design from Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Paxton Heal smiles as he gets an airbrush tattoo from Dean Allan of Brushworks Art and Design from Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
An airbrush tattoo being applied at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)An airbrush tattoo being applied at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The Broken Hill band from Williams Lake performed live Saturday at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The Broken Hill band from Williams Lake performed live Saturday at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Krispin Studer, lead singer for Broken Hill, belts out the lyrics to a song at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Krispin Studer, lead singer for Broken Hill, belts out the lyrics to a song at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The Broken Hill band from Williams Lake performed live Saturday at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The Broken Hill band from Williams Lake performed live Saturday at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Elvis impersonator Steve Elliot takes a break from the stage to listen to the music of Broken Hill at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Elvis impersonator Steve Elliot takes a break from the stage to listen to the music of Broken Hill at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Attendees of the South Cariboo Garlic Festival take shelter during a brief bit of rain. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Attendees of the South Cariboo Garlic Festival take shelter during a brief bit of rain. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile House Wranglers volunteers Ken Fryer and Donna Barnett man the grill at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival last Saturday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)100 Mile House Wranglers volunteers Ken Fryer and Donna Barnett man the grill at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival last Saturday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Early Willow Farms owner and operator Doug Saba sorts some garlic at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Early Willow Farms owner and operator Doug Saba sorts some garlic at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Stu Smith, owner of Stoke the Fire Hot Sauce takes a moment to restock his supply of hot sauce and garlic syrup during the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Stu Smith, owner of Stoke the Fire Hot Sauce takes a moment to restock his supply of hot sauce and garlic syrup during the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The South Cariboo Garlic Festival’s mascot Garlina, Deserai Trozzo, enjoys the festivities with lead organizer Jeanette McCrea. McCrea said this will be her last year as the lead organizer of the festival and is looking for someone to take over for next year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The South Cariboo Garlic Festival’s mascot Garlina, Deserai Trozzo, enjoys the festivities with lead organizer Jeanette McCrea. McCrea said this will be her last year as the lead organizer of the festival and is looking for someone to take over for next year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The South Cariboo Garlic Festival’s mascot Garlina, Deserai Trozzo, enjoys the festivities with lead organizer Jeanette McCrea. McCrea said this will be her last year as the lead organizer of the festival and is looking for someone to take over for next year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The South Cariboo Garlic Festival’s mascot Garlina, Deserai Trozzo, enjoys the festivities with lead organizer Jeanette McCrea. McCrea said this will be her last year as the lead organizer of the festival and is looking for someone to take over for next year. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile House’s Charlotte Peever, 5, gets a butterfly painted onto her face by Carmen Dykstra at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)100 Mile House’s Charlotte Peever, 5, gets a butterfly painted onto her face by Carmen Dykstra at the South Cariboo Garlic Festival. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The 2022 South Cariboo Garlic Festival broke all previous attendance records this weekend with 2,332 people attending on Saturday alone.

At one point, vehicles waiting to get into the festival backed up traffic on Hwy. 97 almost to Lac La Hache as visitors from 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and beyond streamed into the festival grounds just north of Lac La Hache. For head organizer Jeanette McCrea, the turnout validated all the hard work she and her volunteers put into the event.

“I’m a little overwhelmed, it was a huge success. I’ve never seen this many people on a Saturday,” McCrea said. “Usually, in a normal festival, for both days we count 4,200 adults, that’s a busy normal festival. Saturday was not a normal day, it was way better than I’ve ever seen.”

The festival featured no carnival games this year but offered 62 vendors and food trucks as well as live music for attendees to enjoy. Renee McKeown came down from Williams Lake to renew a family tradition of attending the festival with her family.

“We’re very excited to come back to the garlic festival. I think it started in 2000 and I’ve been coming just about every year,” McKeown said. “This is the one time a year I get to see some people I don’t always get to see.”

Several of the vendors were new to the garlic festival, including Brandi Smith of Bessette Creek Farm. Smith said she and her family grow eight different varieties of garlic across eight acres, many of which they brought to the festival. They started farming three years ago after leaving their former careers in Alberta.

“It’s a steep learning curve, we’ve been running uphill really fast, but so far it’s been working out,” Smith said. “This is our first time at the festival and it’s been amazing. It’s very well organized and well attended even at 9 a.m., in the rain.”

Smith said she definitely plans to return to the festival next year “hands down.”

Veteran vendor Doug Saba, owner and operator of Early Willow Farm, agreed with McCrea this is the best-attended garlic festival he’s ever been to. Saba has been growling garlic and other organic food for 22 years. He said the pandemic shutting down the festival for two years was actually a good thing for him.

“I grow a lot of different vegetables, I don’t put all my eggs in one basket,” Saba said. “I had two years of poor crop, so in some ways it was good because I couldn’t have really gone to the festival (anyway).”

Saba said that even after all these years he’s not quite sure what the excitement for garlic is all about. Next to strawberries, he said garlic is his most popular crop and while he doesn’t understand it, he likes it.

READ MORE: Garlic Festival growing in popularity

Despite the success, McCrea said this is the last year she’ll be organizing the festival. After running it for 12 years, she said it’s time to pass the torch on to a new organizer who will be able to take the event to new heights.

“I’d be more than willing to help someone and get them going on it. It’s really not that bad, vendors come to you and they want to be in this festival,” McCrea said.

Anyone interested in taking over is invited to contact McCrea at 250-706-8566 or through the garlic festival’s Facebook page.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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