Thousands of garlic-lovers flocked to Cantine Field in Saugerties for the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival last weekend. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s festival.
Visitors entering the field first encountered a wide variety of crafts — pottery, glassware, jewelry, art work, handmade clothing and more. The main roadway, past the pavilion, was for diners, with simple fare like hamburgers or hot dogs, souvlaki and taco salads.
Well past the most prominent of the food vendors, vendors sold varieties of garlic, along with onions, carrots, peppers and other farm products. The consensus among many of the famers was that the Saugerties Garlic Festival is the best of the garlic festivals held around the state.
Richard Cross of Carlton Farms has been coming to the festival in Saugerties for the past seven years. “It is well organized and very well attended,” he said. Over the years, Carlton Farms has built relationships with many customers who come looking for their booth. “On Saturday, we get the people who really know their garlic and buy in bulk. Sunday is more of a day’s outing, a fun time,” he said
In addition to his garlic and honey, Cross sells hemp oil, which he said relaxes people but does not create a high. The hemp is not the cannabis variety that produces a high, he said, and it is a legal product. “I can’t really make any medical claims, but my customers do say that it relaxes them and helps deal with the stresses of life,” he said.
Saturday offered perfect weather, and the festival was crowded. The crowds were not quite as big on Sunday, but still good sized. At a performance by the Arm of the Sea Puppet Theater, the bleachers and a huge kids’ blanket stayed full, even through a steady drizzle.
Music by Annie and the Hedonists, Mark Rust and others kept the crowds entertained all weekend.