Hold your nose—the stinkiest festival on Long Island is back for its 21st year.
The Long Island Garlic Festival took root in a new location, at Waterdrinker Family Farms in Manorville, for just one weekend this past Saturday and Sunday.
“The Long Island Garlic Festival is all about celebrating the harvest season, supporting local vendors, enjoying great garlic, and most of all, having fun on our 85-acre farm,” tout the festival’s promotion flyers.
The Garlic Festival started in 2002 as a small gathering of Long Island local farmers sharing their love of garlic. Over the past two decades, it has grown into a highly anticipated event with the addition of vendors, contests and, of course, new ways to enjoy garlic. Waterdrinker has also added its own flare to the festival with the inclusion of their brewery’s beer garden and farm animal shows.
Garlic Festival vendor Vincent Macchirole, co-owner of Greenport Jerky Co., has been coming to the festival for seven years. People line up at the Greenport Jerky Co.’s tent to browse their wide selection of homemade jerkys, including a garlic festival exclusive, Garlic Head Jerky.
“This is our first year coming out here and it’s an awesome space. It’s a beautiful facility and everyone here is so friendly,” Macchirole said about the location switch to Waterdrinker.
Mario Pecoraro, of Arlotta Food Studio in the Hamptons, is celebrating the company’s 10th year at the garlic festival. Arlotta’s booth featured cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, with garlic olive oil being the weekend’s bestseller.
“This is our first year at Waterdrinker, but many of us vendors have been coming to the festival together for years. We’re all friends […] all of us vendors are a group here,” Pecoraro said.
Waterdrinker has continued to carry on the traditions of the garlic festival initiated by the original location at Garden of Eve farms. Activities like a garlic-eating contest and how to grow garlic demonstrations remain at the festival this year.
“We attended the festival back when it was at Garden of Eve,” said garlic farmer Phil Barbato. “We are glad to be able to continue to represent organic farming this year.”
The Long Island Garlic Festival is scheduled to return next year with more stinky offerings.
Hayley Birmingham is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism Working Newsroom program for students and local media.