The South Cariboo Garlic Festival has new organizers, who plan to make it bigger and better than ever this summer.
Lac La Hache residents Nedeen Boon and Teresa Wager took over the reins from outgoing organizer Jeanette McCrea, who decided it was time to retire from the festival.
“I could see Jeanette was trying to wind down a little and so I asked if there was maybe something more I could do at next year’s festival,” said Wager, who has volunteered at past festivals.
“I’ve been an ice cream scooper there, I’ve done the gate, but I’ve never really done much more, so when I asked if there was something more I could do to help out, she goes ‘you can take it.’”
The two women decided to organize the event together, noting they are both retired and have time to do it. They have already signed up 17 vendors for the event, slated for Aug. 26-27, and have reached out to every garlic grower in B.C.
“It’s 100 per cent going forward. There’s no getting out of it now,” said Wager.
Vendors include Ghostly Garlic from Millarville, Alta. as well as B.C.’s Mayfair Farms in Salmon Arm, Curly Willow Farm from Grinrod, and Buck Ridge Ranch and Gardens from Quesnel.
Two potters who make garlic pots along with bowls and mugs have also signed up, while the organizers have also reached out to people who make charcuterie boards and knives.
Boon said they are trying to focus on handcrafted, homegrown, unique artisanal items.
They also plan to bring in additional food concessions plus more interactive family activities. Last year was the first year they did not have garlic ice cream so bringing that back is a big deal, said Wager, adding they are looking for an ice cream maker.
Non-profits such as the 100 Mile House Hospice and Cops for Cancer will be on hand, hosting activities such as dunk tanks, while music will be provided by a Bluegrass band from Horsefly and the 100 Mile House Community Band. Boon said they may also fill up air time with local up-and-comings who want to perform.
While unsure how many volunteers will be needed at this time, they’ve already had a great response from the community.
“We’ve had so many great compliments of us taking over the festival and people wanting to help us and commenting on it. Everyone wants to see it succeed,” Wager said.
“Nedeen and I are super excited for an amazing 2023 South Cariboo Garlic Festival.”
She said the festival is seeking more vendors and sponsors. Visit garlic festival.ca for more information.