Experience garlic as never before.

Branded as the “Garlic Olympics of Gastronomy,” the 38th Annual Northwest Garlic Festival features many new additions this year.

There are new vendors, new products, and a new location. Never fear: old favorites will be there, too.

This year’s festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, at the Port of the Peninsula in Nahcotta, Wash.

New flavors and vendors

If it’s a new flavor you seek, check out Columbia Black Garlic from the The Dalles, Ore. They are a new vendor this year, and they’re offering a garlic with a sweet, mild flavor.

“There are two grocery stores in Ocean Park and they are well-stocked with garlic during the festival,” said Bonnie Cozby, director of Ocean Park Area Chamber of Commerce. “This may be your only chance to see elephant garlic.”

Visitors can look forward to more food options, Cozby said.

There will be garlic fries and garlic fudge. If you aren’t sure about trying out garlic, consider chocolate-dipped fruit kabobs with optional garlic sprinkles.

There will also be garlic décor for sale, including garlic bird houses and wind chimes, pottery and art.

Another new vendor will be selling magnetic jewelry and handing out garlic recipes.

Festival history

Karen Boardman, Ocean Park Chamber of Commerce office manager, always gets the question: why do you do have a garlic festival in June? Garlic doesn’t harvest until August.

“We started because of the love of garlic, not because we grow it here,” says Boardman.

In 1980, Nanci Main and Jimella Lucas purchased The Ark restaurant in Nachotta, Wash. They wanted to do something fun, and the Garlic Festival was born.

The first festival was held in the restaurant’s parking lot with food booths, Northwest and Italian wines, live music, a garlic costume contest, garlic relays and garlic skits put on by the Peninsula Playhouse.

The festival outgrew the Ark setting, so Main and Lucas turned it over to the community in 1988.

The festival moved to the field across from the school in Ocean Park. The next move took the festival to Beach Barons Field.

The festival’s new location for the past two years has been the Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta, Wash. This venue is pet-friendly, and many of the vendors put out large bowls of water for dogs.

“I like to say the Garlic Festival has come home,” Boardman said.

Entertainment

The Clove Brothers, always popular with festival attendees, will be at this year’s festival.

Live entertainment promises listening enjoyment and dancing opportunities.

On Saturday, Brownsmead Flats will play from 10-1 p.m. and Brianna Renae will perform from 2-5 p.m.

On Sunday, June 16, the Ilwaco High School Jazz Band will play from 10 a.m.-noon and the Seymour Baker Band will play from 1-4 p.m.

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