Bennington to rework into Garlic City, USA, in absence of annual Garlic Competition

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Vermont Enterprise Journal On Saturday, September fifth Bennington, Vermont will change into “Garlic City, USA” for in the future in celebration of all issues garlic and agriculture!  

Bennington has change into world-renowned for its annual Garlic and Herb Competition held yearly on Labor Day weekend.  Final 12 months, the competition noticed crowds of over 16,000 patrons and 200 garlic-themed distributors. The Garlic and Herb Competition has been acknowledged as one of many high 10 garlic festivals on this planet, featured in Yankee Journal and not too long ago was awarded Vermont’s Time-Honored Prime 10 Fall Occasion.  Because of the COVID pandemic and Vermont restrictions on festivals, the 25th annual “Garlicfest,” because the occasion has been affectionately referred to as, was canceled in early summer season.

“Garlicfest is an iconic occasion in Bennington and all of Vermont,” says Matt Harrington, govt director of the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce which produces the competition.  “It’s a combination of neighborhood constructing and financial development as a lot of our accommodations, eating places and retailers profit from the massive occasion and huge crowds.  As quickly as we determined to cancel the competition based mostly on the Governor’s restrictions, we went to work fascinated about what we may do to at the least rejoice the thought of garlic, agriculture and our neighborhood of Bennington.”

Garlic Distributors on the 24th Annual Garlic and Herb Competition in 2019 (picture credit score: Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce)

What developed was the thought of “Garlic City, USA.” In coordination with the City of Bennington and the Higher Bennington Company, Bennington’s downtown program, Garlic City, USA will rejoice farmers, agriculture, and the spirit of Garlic Fest all through downtown Bennington.  On the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, Bennington downtown’s will function pockets of authentic Garlicfest distributors, or what the committee is looking “Cloves.” Every Clove spot may have 2-Three garlic and produce distributors for individuals to go to.  

“What we heard from a lot of our Garlicfest distributors, as soon as we canceled the competition, was their concern about what they have been going to do with all their produce that that they had been rising for the competition,” says Harrington.  “Working with the City and BBC, we had the thought of making further service provider area all through downtown for the distributors to promote their produce.  Moreover, we heard from many patrons of the competition that they ‘at all times’ get their yearly garlic from the competition.  This now offers these patrons a capability to see their favourite distributors and buy garlic and different produce.”

“We’ve created ‘clove’ pockets of distributors all through downtown,” provides John Shannahan, director of the Higher Bennington Company.  “This might be a terrific alternative for us to extend the service provider footprint downtown for a day and encourage residents to return downtown to buy each the garlic distributors, however our small outlets as properly.”

Clove areas embody Clove A (Downtown Customer’s Middle at 215 South Avenue and the “4 Corners” of South, North and Primary Avenue), Clove B (“four Corners” of South, North and Primary Avenue beginning on the iconic clock to Silver Avenue), Clove C (Silver Avenue to Ramunto’s Pizza at 519 Primary Avenue), Clove D (Depot Avenue Lot to The Dutchman’s Tavern at 135 Depot Avenue), and Clove E (Bennington Farmers’ Market on River Avenue).

Among the distributors already confirmed embody Argusville Farms bringing German white and purple garlic; Buried Treasures Natural Farm bringing licensed natural garlic of music, Russian purple and Chesknok purple; Hawks Meadow Farm bringing garlic pesto, hummus, pickles, relish, salsa, jams, jellies, dried herbs, garlic powder and different contemporary produce; Lindon Garlic Farm bringing natural garlic bulbs, powder, granules and chips, assorted peppers and spices, garlic cookies, brittle, maple syrup, pesto and extra; and New England Twists bringing 12 kinds of natural garlic, wreaths and braids.  See a full listing of distributors at

“The Cloves will not be solely a cool thought,” says Mikaela Lewis, occasion producer with the chamber. “They’re additionally serving to us work social distancing into the occasion.  We now have divided up the varied vendor markets into “Cloves” to make sure protected social distancing.  A patron can go to the web site, get a “free” ticket to start out their journey at one of many Cloves. The patron can transfer round every Clove all through the day.  Getting a ticket to 1 Clove doesn’t limit the patron or household to solely that one clove; they’ll nonetheless go to a number of Cloves all through the day.  This simply helps our staff monitor the gang dimension and to area individuals out evenly.  We ask that patrons work with us on this effort.”

The small outlets of Bennington’s downtown have additionally been inspired to have sidewalk gross sales and the eating places are inspired to supply some outdoors leisure as properly on at the present time.  The Chocolate Shoppe at 471 Primary Avenue may have caramel apples, garlic fudge, garlic caramel corn, common caramel corn, popcorn and garlic gelato!  Along with the Garlic Restaurant Week they can even have garlic gelato out there all the week. Ramuntos is not going to solely be collaborating in Garlic Restaurant Week, but additionally have RamFest that Saturday which can embody the bands Hit-n-Run (1-4pm) and Flashpoint (5-9pm), yard video games of cornhole and Kan Jam, in addition to speciality meals together with wooden fireplace pizza, BBQ, and a taco bar.

At midday, beginning on the Bennington Farmers’ Market alongside the Walloomsac River, Garlic City officers will launch over 100 toy garlic bulbs for the primary ever Garlic Bulb River Derby.  Residents are inspired to register forward of time for a free toy garlic bulb at  Every registration will get a quantity which might be placed on one of many garlic toys.  All of the garlic toys might be positioned within the Walloomsac River at midday and race to the end at The Financial institution of Bennington.  There, the primary toy bulb to move the end line with the profitable quantity will obtain a present basket of downtown service provider goodies and present certificates.

So far as well being and security, the Garlic City, USA committee has been working with officers on the Southwestern Vermont Medical Middle in preparation for this occasion. “We are attempting to supply social distanced enjoyable and neighborhood constructing, whereas monitoring the COVID pandemic,” states Harrington.  “At each step of this new occasion, COVID was high of thoughts.  The committee leaders across the desk have been extraordinarily delicate about how to do that enjoyable occasion whereas the COVID pandemic nonetheless exists.  All volunteers and committee leaders might be in full PPE day of.  We may have volunteers at each clove and public gathering spot armed with PPE for patrons, hand sanitizer and to assist encourage individuals to stay socially distant from each other.  We even have been working with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dobson and his workers at SVMC to make sure a protected and wholesome occasion.”

Included on the web site are these pointers: “If the nation and surrounding states get severely worse earlier than September 5 and we really feel that the general public and patrons might be negatively impacted, we is not going to hesitate to cancel this occasion; all through downtown and the occasion, we may have volunteers stationed with PPE handout, sanitizer and different data for the general public and patrons; for those who really feel sick or know that you simply’ve been involved with somebody with COVID, please for the protection of others keep dwelling (and cook dinner up some garlic!); efficient Friday, August 1, 2020, Governor Scott of Vermont required all Vermonters (and vacationers) to put on masks or material facial coverings whereas in public; and use the garlic to beat back any individuals who may get nearer than 6 ft to you (or Vampires).”

Main as much as the week, space eating places and eating institutions might be that includes numerous garlic-themed dishes for patrons at a particular Garlic Restaurant Week in celebration of garlic and harvest produce.  See the web site for collaborating eating places and their specials.

A map of all of the cloves and numerous occasions all through downtown might be featured on a handout supplied at and in addition out there on the numerous Clove areas.  Patrons are inspired to choose up a map and attempt to get to each Clove all through the day.  At every Clove, a volunteer will stamp the map.  If patrons acquire all stamped areas on their map and drop it off on the BBC all through the week after the competition, patrons might be entered to win one other present basket from downtown retailers.

Shannon Barsotti, Group Director for the City of Bennington and a part of the Garlic City, USA committee provides, “We admire the imaginative and prescient and thought for this distinctive occasion in Bennington.  Bennington has been by loads over the previous six months.  We predict it will encourage a spirit of delight, custom and celebration for most of the residents of Bennington.  We hope individuals take this chance to soundly benefit from the many nice qualities of our downtown.”

Harrington finishes, “We hope this occasion turns into a practice all by itself.  We hope this could be a companion piece to a Garlic Competition sooner or later.  That is our means of claiming thanks to the city of Bennington and its residents for a lot of profitable years of the Garlicfest.”

Present sponsors for this occasion embody: The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Higher Bennington Company, City of Bennington, Shires Younger Professionals, The Financial institution of Bennington, Ramuntos Pizza, The Inn at Manchester, Individuals’s Financial institution, and Uncle Bob’s Septic Service.

For extra data on the occasion, go to:

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