Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival Announces Highlights of 12thAnnual Festival
Stratford, Ontario April 15, 2018
Dan Needles to speak at the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival
Dan Needles, noted author and humorist, will be speaking at the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival on Saturday, September 8th. Dan’s popularWingfield Farmstage plays, portraying a city guy learning the rigors of farming in rural Ontario, have filled theatres across Canada and the United States. His Stratford talk will focus on his latest book, True Confessions from the Ninth Concession,a collection of his Harrowsmith magazine columns.
The Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festivalwas founded in 2007 as a cooperative effort between the Kiwanis Club of Stratfordand local garlic growers to promote Ontario garlic which was struggling to gain a foothold in the Canadian market that was dominated by cheap imported garlic from China. The members of the Kiwanis Club of Stratfordrecognized an opportunity to merge service to the community, fun and fund raising and supported the idea wholeheartedly.
The Ontario Garlic and Artisan Market is one of mainstays of the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival, featuring Garlic growers from all over Ontario, with many, including co-founder, Warren Ham of August’s Harvestreturning for their 12thconsecutive year.
Moving the event indoors to the Community Hall in the Stratford Rotary Complex has been one of the changes the organizers have initiated over the past two years, with organizers citing bad weather and less-than-ideal field conditions at the outdoor site near the old Fairgrounds.
In 2017 Festival organizers expanded their mandate to include artisanal cheese producers and wine/beer/spirits makers. Again this year, wine, beer and spirit vendors will be offering samples of their products for an additional cost. They will also be partnering with cheese makers to offer exclusive tasting & pairing presentations. To maintain the integrity of the Festival, and demonstrate that cheese, wine, beer, and spirits compliment garlic beautifully, each session will feature at least one garlic product.
Local garlic growers believe that, indeed, the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festivalhas helped the local garlic industry make a comeback from its near extinction in the early 2000’s. Warren Ham, the garlic grower who co-founded the Festival was quoted in a story in the Beacon Herald (Sept. 11, 2017) indicating that “by 2000 the acres of farmland used to produce garlic in Ontario had declined significantly from 6,000 to 300 acres.” He went on to say that “a dying industry just 15 years ago, garlic farming has experienced resurgence over the past decade in the province, particularly in Perth County” and that local comeback is closely related to the creation of the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival.”
Now the Ontario garlic industry is facing another problem: the demand for locally-grown garlic has increased to the point where many more acres of garlic need to be cultivated in order to meet the demand. Local garlic has disappeared from grocery store shelves by January and is not available until the new crop is harvested in June. The organizers of the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival, 2018 will continue to work with the Ontario Garlic Growers Associationto support smaller garlic growers and encourage growth in this industry.
September 8 and 9, 2018
Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival
Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Road
Admission $10/day or $15 for 2-day pass
Children 12 & under free
Free parking and bike valet service
For more information contact:
Bonnie Richardson, Chair
Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival, 2018