Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vermont Stinks!

It's our first Labor Day weekend in New England.  In year's past, we've spent many Labor Days sweating it out in 100+ temps, grilling hot dogs on George Formans and eating potato salad between newscasts thinking we were really doing good to celebrate the end of summer...and knowing good and well that cooler temperatures wouldn't be in store until at least the third week in October.  Well folks, up here...Labor Day really is the last dance.  The weather was chilly and because of the cloudy remnants of Hurricane Earl, the sun was long gone.

Garlic Head
We decided to forgo the hot dog grilling  (mainly because of the mean diet) and found something totally funner to do this year....we drove about an hour over to Bennington, Vermont and hit up the 15th Annual Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival!  And it was much like you would guess...tons of garlic and not a vampire in sight!  But the funniest thing was, driving into the Garlic Festival we noticed just a half mile up the road was the Bennington Irish Music Festival.  Uh, because that's what you think of celebrating when you're in Vermont: Irish music and Garlic.

Pick a bulb, any bulb
The Garlic Fest ain't no small potatoes (although they did sell those too):  organizers expect about 6,000 visitors over the two day festival.  All it took was $5 to get us in the gate to check out garlic and everything else that comes along with it.  First of all, we had no idea there was really much more to garlic than either the minced kind you get in a jar at Wal-Mart or the pseudo-fancy kind that comes one bulb to little plastic wrapped box. could we be so silly???

Our education in garlic began with sampling all the different varieties of garlic at the festival, some that would make yours eyes water!  We were surprised to see just how many types of garlic there were!  Did you know there are more than 600 varieties of the herb grown worldwide?  Crazy!  We sampled some Purple Stripes, Porcelains, Rocamboles and Elephant garlic just to name a few.  

eenie, meenie, minie, mo...
Most of the garlics at the festival were organic, because Vermont is pretty earthy, crunchy hippie like that.  Just throwing away the trash at this festival was a 10 minute process.  First time we've ever been somewhere that offered a 'compost' pile.

The festival also had demonstrations and herb workshops going on all day.  A brief rainstorm found us trapped under a tent stragely mesmorised watching a man construct a garlic wreath hanging.  It looked like a true talent.  We learned that the hangings and wreaths are sold by weight.

Vampire Repellent
Apparently, you can put garlic in anything.  We also got a look at some true culinary delicacies like garlic fudge, garlic wine, garlic french fries, garlic soup, garlic apple pie, garlic kettle corn, garlic hamburgers and garlic hot dogs (though not cooked on the George Forman), garlic bruschetta, garlic pickles, garlic jelly, garlic margaritas and yes, even garlic ice cream-which really was not that bad.

Alliumphobia Nightmare
Although China is responsible for about 77% of the world's garlic, Bennington, Vermont seemed to be looking pretty good in the market share.  While we ended up going home with a sampler bag of bulbs, we decided that the Garlic Fest was defiantly a married person's event.  There was no way we would have been picking up anyone with the breath we were rockin' by the time it was said and done.

Garlic decorations
We were heartbroken.
Craft time at Garlic Town.
Big ol' bowl of bad breath!
Rollin' in the hay.
Brett was a brave, brave boy.
6,000 other garlic lovers.
Garlic anyone? 
Garlic flavored Garretts

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