The Revelstoke Garlic Festival took place on Sunday (Sept. 17), for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, offering attendees music, chicken bingo, and of course, garlic.
“We’re over the moon with the community response we got from it,” said event organizer, Kelsey Gasparini.
The event was held at Queen Elizabeth Park this year, which was one of a few changes from previous years. Under new management, the festival was organized by the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative (LFI), which took the reins from Sarah Harper and Stu Smith of Stoke the Fire. Kelsey Gasparini, executive director of the LFI and event organizer, spoke about the event and how the money raised at the door will help the local organization.
“For the organizers, I think it was really special. Pulling something off like that for the first time has its struggles and its obstacles, but we were able to figure our way through them all,” said Gasparini.
Those lucky enough to attend the event will remember, but for those who didn’t make it out to Sunday’s festival — it was a large community turnout.
More than 70 vendors with different products set up booths at the festival. With a hallway of garlic vendors lining the entrance, the main theme of garlic remained on the minds and noses of festival-goers.
Gasparini said the LFI estimated that roughly 2,500 people attended the event on Sunday, bringing in what it anticipates will be more than $7,000 to the LFI. Gasparini explained how the money raised will be used by the organization.
“It helps us hire garden coordinators and run education programs in our high schools and our elementary schools and our preschools.”
Whether it’s education programs or hiring administrative assistance, the money will help the LFI continue and expand its ongoing work to prioritize local food in Revelstoke.
Gasparini also confirmed that the LFI will be looking to bring the festival back next year.
The organizers will be looking to add more performers, increase the variety of vendors, and introduce more games, too.
Gasparini expressed her gratitude to the entire community for coming out and making the event special, and to those who helped support the festival, including Stoke the Fire, Arts Revelstoke, the Columbia Basin Trust, Tourism Revelstoke, and the Revelstoke Grizzlies hockey team.
Most importantly, Gasparini thanked all the vendors and volunteers, who were at the heart –or clove– of the festival since its inception.