By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
You don't have to travel 1,900 kilometres and cross the Garlic Wall in eastern Saskatchewan to get your fill of garlic this weekend.
In less than 90 minutes of slope-style driving up the Slocan Valley you can be in New Denver, amidst thousands of garlic lovers and admirers, reveling in the heady aroma of the herb at the 18th annual Hills Garlic Festival on Sunday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in Centennial Park.
Although it has grown too large for the tiny community of Hills north of New Denver to host, the festival has stayed true to its roots — and its name — with an array of homemade and homegrown organic products, many made from garlic, from 160 vendors across the West Kootenay and beyond.
With organic garlic (of course), garlic wreaths and other garlic snacks, the festival also features fresh organic produce, plants and plant products, local crafts — art, jewelry, wood, flutes, furniture, pottery, textiles, rocks — soaps, lotions, herbal remedies and an assortment of food vendors and live entertainment.
Last year over 6,000 people poured into New Denver to pay homage to the herbage at the festival, watching as awards for largest head of garlic (soft-neck and stiff-neck), heaviest clove, best garlic poem and best garlic braid were handed out.
Admission is $4 for adults with children under 12 allowed in for free. The event is a fundraiser for the Hills Recreation Society and has helped fund recreational facilities and services such as basketball, tennis courts and cross country ski trails.
A reminder to festival goers: there is no cash machine on site and most vendors cannot accept credit cards.