Easton’s Garlicfest, probably the most successful of all of their day/weekend-long festivals in Center Square got a lot bigger this year, and for good reason. Last year’s event was so successful, drawing nearly 10,000 people, that they decided to expand it to two days.
This year was no different. The first day was held in Center Square and the second day took place along the river. I attended the first day and was pleased with what I saw. There was a ton of vendors, much larger than the earlier Chile Pepper Festival. The big difference here was there was no “Eat Garlic ‘Til You Vomit” contest. I kid, I kid. But really, there wasn’t one of those (but if you follow that link you can read about the pepper eating contest) and maybe they should look into having one. I digress. The two locations is an interesting idea, but I can imagine it must be a huge hassle for the vendors to pack up and then move everything for the next day. Can’t everyone just agree to shut down the square for a weekend and suck it up?
Otherwise: Prices were and are great. I didn’t spend much money but I ate enough to be full and not feel like I got ripped. A ribeye steak on pita with garlic sauce was excellent, especially with some hotsauce thrown on. I’m trying desperately to remember the place that made it but I’m coming up short, didn’t take notes, and no photos of the stand. Bummer. A chicken and garlic from the Kfarsghab Club was good and they easily had the most ridiculous line of the event. I prefered the ribeye steak, which was the same price and no line, however.
One interesting thing they did was axe the boozefest this year. Last year you paid (I think) $12 and got sameples from wineries, breweries, and the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers. This year they did away with that and instead set up an area where you paid (again, I believe) $15 and sampled garlic-laden food from Easton and Lehigh Valley-area restaurants. I think this was a wise move and definitely fits in with the event more than getting plastered off of wine samples. To enjoy with your food Drinky’s had a tent set up where you could go eat and enjoy a craft beer (including Heavy Seas Loose Canon IPA, Weyerbacher, and others). This was definitely a change for the better and I hope they keep it for next year.
The only other criticism I could hope they might fix as the event grows and expands in the future is either a smartphone app or a map. A map is probably more user-friendly for a smaller event like this, but I definitely had time finding certain stands I was searching out (like Christine’s Secret Tea garden, which was hidden in an alley). A little guide with events that are going on (like that garlic eating contest, for instance) and where vendors are at would be really helpful, I think. Overall this is one of the best events down in Easton and certainly worth checking out every year.