Garlic lovers rejoice! It’s time for the annual Washington State Garlic Fest. August 23 through 25, the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds will fill with the delightful sights, sounds, and – of course – smells of all things garlic. Now in its 23rd year, Washington State Garlic Fest is the largest celebration of garlic in the state.

Garlic Fest got its start at Sunshine Hill in 1996. As popularity for the event grew, the location moved to the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy: Washington State Garlic Fest.

Your breath may stink after all that garlic – but getting to Garlic Fest won’t. Simply hop on Twin Transit for FREE all weekend long!

Garlic Fest begins Friday, August 23, from noon to 7:00 p.m. It runs through Saturday, August 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday, August 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

What’s So Great About Garlic Fest?

Give garlic cotton candy a try! Photo courtesy: Washington State Garlic Fest.

First and foremost is the delicious Garlic Fest food. These delectable delights take center stage. Aside from traditional garlic fare like garlic fries and dogs, taste amazing deep-fried garlic, garlic jambalaya and Cajun stew, and giant smoked turkey legs with garlic butter.

There are even garlic desserts. Try the garlic ice cream, cotton candy, brownies, elephant ears, and kettle corn. Be sure to save room for chocolate-covered garlic cloves. Then cool off with garlic shaved ice – a special treat from a brand new vendor.

Take home the garlic goodness with a variety of regional and local growers selling their delicious garlic bulbs. Local garlic growers include Coffee Creek Community Gardens, Newaukum Valley Farm, Johnson Creek Garlic and Twisp’s Channing Valley Farm.

Garlic Fest features a unique variety of artisan crafters. Here you’ll find beautiful home goods and gifts including artwork, handcrafted soaps and body products, lovely handmade jewelry, and much more. Experience premium emu oil products from 3 Feathers Emu Ranch. Jazz up the yard with study outdoor yard decor and picnic tables from Lewis County Work Opportunities. Get great wooden toys like study puzzles and trains from Rochester’s Dan’s Crafts.

Find organically grown garlic from Toledo’s Johnson Creek Garlic at Garlic Fest. Photo courtesy: Washington State Garlic Fest.

Country charm lovers should be sure to stop at the Pop Up Flea Market, Chick Alley, for a fun mix of vendors from Country Chicks. Find farm decor, vintage pieces, antiques, and unique handcrafted items.

Bring the kids for fun activities with the Boys and Girls Club of Chehalis and Shankz 3D Black Light Mini Golf. Stop at the Pigeon Building and enjoy craft projects, an inflatable ball toss, a putting green, and more all weekend long.

There will be tons of entertainment throughout all three days of Garlic Fest. Be sure to sit a spell and enjoy one of the many musicians playing on the South Stage.

Friday features Locust Street Dixieland Band with the sounds of swing at 12:00 p.m. From Nashville, hear Pontiac Alley’s country music duet at 2:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., The Sundowner’s play their retro country and western swing. Be sure to catch Southwest Washington’s own Chris Guenther rocking the stage at 6:00 p.m.

Pick up something savory at Garlic Fest. Photo courtesy: Washington State Garlic Fest.

On Saturday the South Stage is hot with the local group The Two Town Tuners, a four-part a cappella men’s chorus group. Following that performance is show and dance Polka band Smilin’ Scandinavians at noon. At 2:00 p.m. hear the unique sounds of the oyster farmer, Marty Beagle and the Oyster Club. Neptune’s Ride plays rock songs of the past at 4:00 p.m. For more classic hits, stick around for Backlash at 6:00 p.m.

On Sunday the music continues with local group Prohibition Band and their various genres of music at 2:00 p.m.

There will be plenty of interesting and useful information to glean as well. Returning this year is Master Gardener Ciscoe Morris, who brings his enthusiastic presentation to Garlic Fest on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The author and host of “Gardening with Ciscoe” is a fun addition with his expansive knowledge of local flora. “Last year he brought in a big crowd,” says Kelly Sneed, Southwest Washington Fair administrative assistant. “He makes it really fun.”

Stick around for Sunday’s demonstration of fungi in the garden with Olympia’s Fungi Perfecti at 4:00 p.m. These cultivators of mushrooms share the importance of fungi’s purpose, from medicine to recycling of agricultural byproducts.

Twin Transit feels strongly about supporting the economic events that enrich our community. Pictured is the Twin Transit booth at the Southwest Washington Fair, to which they also provided free transportation. Photo courtesy: Twin Transit.

Admission to Garlic Fest for one day is $5. For all three days it’s only $10. Children under the age of five are free. “We invite the community to come on down and support the local craft and food vendors at Garlic Fest,” Sneed says.

Twin Transit is offering free rides to help make this possible. In addition to making the fun of Garlic Fest accessible to all, they want to support the economic endeavors of local businesses and artisans. “We are very appreciative of Twin Transit getting the community out to enjoy Garlic Fest,” says Sneed. “It’s great that they are giving free bus rides all weekend long.”

So hop on Twin Transit for free and come enjoy Garlic Fest. You’ll be delighted, inspired and, as Sneed says, “It’s a fun time for the whole family.”

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