A few weeks ago, I attended an event that was billed as “The Minnesota Garlic Festival”.
When hearing the name of this festival, I pictured something perhaps maybe not in the same league as the legendary Gilroy Garlic Festival, but some kind of approximation to it, with all manner of products made out of garlic. Garlic burgers with garlic buns, garlic soda, deep fried corn-on-the-garlic, and of course, garlic ice cream. Garlic soap, garlic rope, garlic coffee – I had plenty of time to use my imagination on the hour long drive out to the thing.
Upon arrival at the county fairgrounds where it was being held, reality started to set in. I wasn’t really seeing any crowds of people. There was a $5 fee merely to park.
And where was all the garlic? We walked around in there about twenty minutes before we actually saw someone selling any!
The famed ice cream stand that has garlic ice cream? Here it was, just after twelve o’clock noon, and they were completely sold out of it! And this certainly wasn’t due to any crowds kicking down the door!
How about a garlicky pulled pork sandwich? Sold out.
Ooo – a garlic and beef pasty! Now THAT’ll hit the spot. “Sorry, hon, we don’t have any left.”
Dammit, I’m starving.. Look! Someone’s offering a lamb burger!
“Does it have garlic in it?”, I asked. “No,”, the woman replied, “but you can put some garlic salt on it!” – and I was pointed to plastic shaker of Morton’s.
We counted only seven people actually selling garlic. And only one of those was offering samples.
The rest of the place was full of chiropractors, hippie soap sellers, rain barrel makers, and all sorts of other crap that was highly ungarlic.
We shrugged and headed for the exit.
A fitting coda: on the way out, we found ourselves walking right into.. hey! a parade! .. which was a motley affair of a handful of Scotsmen (or wannabe Scotsmen) playing bagpipes, a bunch of kids wearing handmade animal masks, followed by another bunch of kids that were probably from the local dance school, and, bringing up the rear, what had to be the town middle school’s marching band in full out-of-tune glory.
I can still hear their last sour note in my ear: Bwaaah.
If it had been called the “Hutchinson Garlic Festival”, why, what would I have to complain about? Just a small town festival, with accompanying small town expectations.
But as a claimed statewide endeavor, I expected something more. My advice: save your money for a trip to Gilroy.