As stated previously in A Fun-Filled Day at the Harwinton Fair , the next stop on my quest was the Garlic & Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, Connecticut. I can’t recall if I’d heard of this festival prior to my delicious, toasted garlic chocolate pretzel. But, I do know that experience definitely made me want to check it out.
So of course, I did my usual research online, and looked into what activities and vendors were likely to be present at this event. I also found a few posts on Instagram displaying some of the delicious food combinations that were available during the previous festival. I saw a picture of someone posing with their garlic sausage and peppers and decided that was one of the things I would be trying.
The drive to Bethlehem was quite scenic. It was the beginning of October and most of the leaves on the trees were already shades of red, yellow and orange. The road that I was driving along also appeared to be cutting through mainly farmland. There was a lot of open land with a great view of the mountains and landscapes. It was also very quiet as well. Anyone who saw me driving, probably thought I was part owl or something with the way my head was turning 360 trying to see as much as I could. I enjoyed the drive through Bethlehem so much that I decided I would return before the fall was over.
The entire drive to get there was maybe a little over a half hour, if that. Once I pulled up to the fairgrounds, there was a long line of cars ahead of me all headed to find parking spots. After a few minutes of driving around the parking area, I finally found a spot. Next time I’ll be sure to pay better attention because it took far too long to locate my vehicle when it was time to leave.
As I started walking towards to main entrance, I noticed a woman in the distance jumping up and down and flailing her arms around. I then realized it was my friend and ran up and greeted her. We tried to aim at getting there around the same time but apparently, she made it there first. We then purchased our tickets at the ticket booth. It was $10 admission for adults, $8 for seniors and $1 for children under 12.
Once through the gates, we grabbed a 2021 Vendor Directory and searched for anything that piqued our interest. There were sooo many vendors to choose from. Far more than I had imagined.
We thought it would be best to just start off at the first row and continue on through the rest until we reached the end. Well, that plan almost worked if we didn’t spot the food vendor selling ‘burnt ends’ the moment we walked in and looked ahead.
So the first thing that I sampled was the burnt ends, we decided to just share an order instead of getting one each for ourselves. Gotta save as much room as possible for more.
Next, we shared an order of the fried brussels sprouts with garlic aioli sauce. Of course, all of these things weren’t eaten back-to-back. We probably spent a good 3 or 4 hours in total at the festival. I have timestamps on pictures ranging from 11am until way after 2pm. It’s hard to tell how long I was actually there for, after all, time flies when you’re having fun!
By the time I got to the garlic sausage & peppers I was so stuffed. I took two bites and put the rest of it away in one of my takeaway containers.
During our food breaks, we browsed around through the different vendors. I have to say, before this festival, I only knew of 2 different kinds of garlic. Either the usual white one that I get at the supermarket or the occasional purple-ish looking one. I would never have guessed that there are well over 10 varieties of garlic. Based on the pictures of above, there are Inchelium Red & French White which are good to be eaten raw in salads. Then there is German White, which is great for roasting due to its high sugar content and large cloves. Lastly, we have the Deerfield Purple of the Purple Stripe variety which is said to be one of the best cooking garlic due to its extremely potent flavor. And this is just to name a few.
When I got home, I sorted through my tote bag and took pictures of all of the things that I’d bought and not yet consumed. The only thing that wasn’t garlic flavored was the Maple Bacon fudge bar, which I enjoyed for the weeks to follow..
I definitely enjoyed every second of the Garlic Festival and hopefully will return again this fall. If you’d like to watch my video on it, you can click here.