30 Apr Garlic Fest: The Best Stinkin’ Party in Town
Every year in February, the seaside city of Delray Beach holds “The Best Stinkin’ Party in Town”: The Garlic Fest. Taking place for three straight days in Old School Square right off of popular Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach, the festival is filled with foods, activities, music and an art festival. This event started as a fundraiser to help generate funds for organizations that facilitate youth education and arts, and profits continue to be donated to charities each year.
Basically every food served is centered around garlic as an ingredient, it is the garlic festival after all. I believe there are a few non garlic items, but if you aren’t a fan of the smelly herb, it might be a good idea to come on a full stomach. I enjoy garlic so I was excited to try out some of the tasty treats. Between Micah and myself, we tried the corn, crab cakes, and the chicken pita–the corn was dipped in garlic butter and had a great flavor, but after growing up eating fresh Minnesotan corn, the corn anywhere else can’t even come close to comparing. If it wasn’t for my roots, I would have enjoyed the corn much more because it did have a really good flavor. The crab cakes were extremely garlicky, but they were still really tasty; as for the chicken pita, it was just ok. Almost all of the foods looked good, but we found our choices to be hit or miss. There is also a Cloves and Vines Wine Garden and a Garlic Oasis Bar if you care to grab a drink to quench your thirst after all the garlic you surely will consume.
I also had to try the garlic ice cream that I had heard about so many years prior, and let me tell you, it tastes like it sounds: not good! I am not the biggest fan of ice cream in the first place, so I already had that going against me, but I think the worst thing about it was the after taste–it just tasted funky. Unfortunately, none of my friends liked it either, so we ended up throwing out pretty much the whole bowl. The only good that came out of that purchase is that I can finally say I tried the famous garlic ice cream.
One event held at the festival is a cooking competition between local chefs for the best dish made with garlic. Throughout the weekend, there are cooking demonstrations with a tasting to follow–the competition is broken into four rounds, and the winner is crowned on Sunday.
Every year there is a wide variety of musicians and bands performing at the festival. Acts such as G. Love and Special Sauce, Uncle Kracker, Blues Traveler, Lifehouse, Pepper and Buddy Guy have performed at the festival. Performances run throughout the day and late into the evening.
Garlic University and the Children’s Area are available to keep the young ones occupied–the university has activities such as planting your own garlic seed and the like. There are also a few carnival type rides on site as well. For the slightly older attendees, there is a kissing booth if anyone is looking to pucker up for a smelly kiss. Not surprisingly, there was nobody lined up for that attraction!
If you feel like shopping, you are in luck, as there are numerous vendors throughout the square. The vendors are set up to resemble an art fair, and there is a wide variety of items for sale–from clothes to food to housewares, there are many unique items up for grab.
All in all, despite the crowds, the festival is a good time–we have attended the last two years and enjoyed browsing the vendor booths, sampling the food and listening to the music. I would like to catch one of the cooking demonstrations, but we always seem to arrive too late–maybe next year we will have to plan to arrive a little earlier in the day!
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