Garlic Fest returning to Easton, and organizers smell success

Written by on September 29, 2022

Garlic Fest returning to Easton, and organizers smell success

By Olivia Richardson
September 29, 2022

Downtown Easton will welcome the return of its Garlic Festival for the 19th year this weekend. (Olivia Richardson/WLVR News)

EASTON, Pa. — The stink fest is back.

Easton’s Garlic Fest returns for the 19th year this weekend.

Jo Moranville, owner of Quadrant Bookmart and chairwoman of Garlic Fest, said last year had a great turnout after the event was shut down in 2020 because of COVID-19.

“It is huge because people were looking to get back out,” Moranville said. “Last year some of the vendors weren’t able to come. This year we have a full slate of vendors.

“We have food vendors; of course they’re supposed to have food with a lot of garlic in them and it needs to have a lot of garlic in them or the crowd will turn on them. They want their garlic.”

Moranville said she’s looking forward to pierogi swimming in garlic butter.

Attendees can find nearly everything: garlic beer, garlic ice cream and cookies and cuisine from different parts of the world.

Moranville said the festival has been set up so that while people grab a bit of food, they can walk around and visit various crafters that, yes, incorporate garlic into their work. Crafts include items such as ponchos and other garlic-themed clothing, wallets and garlic aromatherapy.

This year, Garlic Fest attendees also can see the new renovations in Centre Square. Moranville said that while the renovations won’t be completely finished, attendees will get a first peek at what Centre Square will look like.

Crowds at the fest can enjoy entertainment from three music stages. The School of Rock stage will have students of the School of Rock music programs through the weekend showcasing their talent.

The Sizzlin’ Latin Quarter will feature Latin pop, salsa and DJ sets. The quarter will have vendors featuring Latin foods such as empanadas and chorizo arepas.

There also will be the main stage. Saturday performances at the mainstage theater will have a Blues and Booze theme while Sunday’s will contain a speakeasy theme of events and music.

Jo Moranville, owner of Quadrant Bookmart, is chairwoman of Easton’s Garlic Fest

The tradition of the 3 Mayors Cook Off will continue at the Stinkin’ Culinary Stage. Mayors Sal Panto of Easton, Matt Tuerk of Allentown and Todd Tersigni of Phillipsburg will go head-to-head in a cook-off challenge. Moranville said that the mayors really rely on the chefs with which they’re paired to do the cooking.

“They’re supposed to help the chefs, but really we put mics on all three of the mayors and it’s just endlessly fun to listen to,” Moranville said.

Attendees also can watch different chefs cook off and compete with each other. In addition, there are two contests in which attendees can participate.

On Saturday, the Gastric Garlic People’s Choice Contest will be held, starting at noon. Guests will get to taste food from different chefs and vote for which one they believe is best. There is a limit of 400 participants in the Gastric Garlic People’s Choice Contest.

On Sunday the Dangerous Desserts Contest takes place, also at noon. Participants decide which pastry or dessert is crowned the best of Garlic Fest.

Both contests require a $12 fee to participate, with a cap of 200 dessert judges.

Definitely come hungry, Moranville said.

“One of the things I love to emphasize about Garlic Fest here in Easton is that we have an incredible array of talented chefs,” Moranville said. “I think we’re really known as the food hub of Lehigh Valley now. Our restaurants are on par with anywhere in the world. If you want to eat, Easton is the place to do it.”


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