Orange (MA) Garlic Festival

Guest Post by James Sharrard

On September 16th, we went to the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. Its subtitle was “The Festival that Stinks.” Big name for a fun, little fair. It was a two day event - Saturday and Sunday - and the total attendance was approximately 10,000 people. Saturday was rainy and windy. We went on Sunday when it was clear and cool. After a dry August, the trees in the hills were just starting to turn.

Obviously, the theme was garlic. Most of the food sold there (from 16 different vendors) contained garlic, from salad with garlic vinaigrette, garlic puled pork, baked poatoes with roasted garlic spread to garlic ice cream (which was made with raw, not cooked, garlic!).

There were 38 booths worth of artists and woodworkers, 14 booths for community organizations, a handful of booths for local forest products and for renewable energy, and about a dozen for the ‘healing arts.’ There was a small animal area, plus there were 40 booths for farmers and agricultural products. The festival even had its own mascot—Garlic Man!

But all that is just numbers. One of the most interesting things about the festival is an aspect that the organizers documented in their publicity, but it really didn’t register until I was there what they meant, that this really was the festival with no trash. The first thing that got my attention was the recycling/composting stations.

After my first snack, I looked for a trash can for my napkin and plastic spoon. What I found was a counter with holes for different categories of waste. All the silverware, cups, plates, and napkins used there were compostable. Cans and bottles were recyclable. The festival didn’t sell bottled water; the organizers requested that people bring their own bottles and drink the free water available there. Or they could buy a reusable water bottle at a stand. And nobody dropped anything on the ground! I finally read in the program/map they handed out that in 2006, the total trash generated was two trash bags!

Here are two links with even more information: first the festival’s own website, and an article about it from the Worcester Telegram.

Photos and text both courtesy of James Sharrard. If you want to see higher resolution versions, go to

If you’ve had a noteworthy food-related experience and are interested in writing a guest post for Corduroy Orange, email me your story for consideration. All submissions are subject to editing.

One Response to “Orange (MA) Garlic Festival”

  1. Zita Rasid Says:


    Really enjoyed your photos and the fotos of your family. I had Joanna in my class at Trinity Nursery School in Springfield. Whooo, that was many, many years ago.
    I now live in Keene, NH but work at the O.I.C. building in Orange, MA. Maybe we’ll see each other at the Garlic Festival?
    You all look so great, I didn’t recognize Joanna or Jeremy but their parents haven’t aged a bit.
    thank you for posting your photos………..

    Zita Rasid

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