View of the historic Bennington Monument from Garlic Town’s “Clove B” in 2023. Photos provided by Lauzon Photography

Garlic Town, USA, in Bennington, Vermont, can be likened to Willy Wonka’s candy wonderland but with a garlicky twist. Picture this: Over 120 vendors, food trucks, craft producers, bands, kids’ activities, and more, all dedicated to celebrating the divine allium and the harvest season. You can stroll around with a garlic margarita in hand, exploring booths offering an array of delights such as wild game sausage infused with garlic, garlic goat cheese, garlic jam, garlic hot sauce, black garlic, garlic pickles, and even garlic ice cream, among others. For die-hard garlic lovers or simply curious to explore its myriad culinary possibilities, Garlic Town welcomes you with open arms and a garlicky embrace. 

Farmers grow garlic for this event, and their best picks often sell out before the day is over!
Free downtown tractor rides & parking shuttles.
Live music all day at Garlic Town, USA!

Indulge Your Senses at Vermont’s Premier Garlic Fest: A Celebration of Agriculture and Flavor

Held every Labor Day Weekend for almost 30 years, marking the transition from warmer months to harvest season, this annual garlic fest is a Vermont food festival calendar highlight. Known as Vermont’s largest family farmers’ market, Garlic Town celebrates all things agriculture, orbiting around the mighty garlic bulb. Walking amongst the vendors, you’ll be impressed by the variety and quality displayed in each booth culled from all over the Northeast. Many vendors have been with the festival; due to its farmers’ market roots, you can “try before you buy” with vendors giving out ample samples. Many grow garlic specifically for this event and can sell out of their most popular selections before the day ends! To say you could spend an entire day here would be an understatement.

Numerous vendors offer samples to try before you buy!
Crafted seasoning blends on display from Rockerbox Garlic.

Cross the Garlic River: Explore Two Unique Cloves at the Heart of Vermont’s Festive Garlic Celebration

The festival is so large that it is divided into two sections, or “Cloves,” as the festival organizers have cleverly designated them. Dividing Clove A and Clove B is the Walloomsac River, and if you look closely, you may see garlic bulbs floating lazily down the river, adding even more atmosphere to the garlic world you are now inhabiting. There is no need to worry about crossing the river to either clove as a modern bridge and roadway connect the two. You can tell the true fans from the novice garlic lovers by the garlic hats adorning the die-hard’s heads. Each “Clove” features a wine/cocktail/beer garden with many garlic-themed beverages, live music performances to enjoy throughout the day, and a mix of food trucks and booth vendors to browse from. Clove B also hosts the popular demonstration tent, which offers interactive cooking demos (including garlic ice cream samples), kid’s activities and live magician performances, garlic trivia, and more, taking place all day long!

Clove A, located at 113 Depot Street in Bennington.
Clove B, right across the street from A, at 150 Depot Street. 

Savor the Flavor: Garlic Town, USA Delights with Global Cuisine and Local Charm

While you soak up the last of the warm summer rays, scents reminiscent of a country fair waft through the air, albeit with a hint of the garlicky charm of the festival’s namesake. The author can personally vouch for cuisine options from around the globe, including Jamaican Jerk chicken and oxtail, Polish sausage and pierogi, fried garlic cloves and pickles, falafels, Thai spring rolls, Maryland crab cakes, and Italian garlic butter-drenched bread bites to name just a few! All washed down with a necessary freshly squeezed lemonade, of course. Craving more festival classics? Grab a snow cone, hot pretzel, maple fried dough, freshly popped kettle corn, or an ice cream sandwich. There is something for every taste bud at Garlic Town, USA! 

Jamaican cuisine, roasted whole garlic cloves, and Hearth-baked flatbreads from Naga Bakehouse.

From Humble Beginnings to Garlic Extravaganza: Celebrating 30 Years of the Garlic Festival of Vermont

Since its inception in 1995, Garlic Town has attracted as many as 16,000 attendees during the two-day festival (originally known as the Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival, or Garlic Fest for short). Over the past three decades,  the Garlic Fest grew by an amazing  260%, making it a “magnet event” for the Southern region of Vermont.

As the Covid pandemic struck in 2020, the planning team at the Southwestern Vermont Chamber, the producers of the festival, restructured and rebranded the festival to what is now Garlic Town, USA, planting the festival in the heart of downtown Bennington, VT. The fest is a massive undertaking, and recognizing all those who make the festival happen is essential. With over 125+ volunteers, this festival is truly a labor of love from the town of Bennington to you, the mighty garlic lover! 

“The beating heart of this festival is truly the amazing union of dedicated volunteers, longtime vendors, and loyal stinkin’ garlic fans who have believed in us through multiple transitions and improvements to our event that have taken place over the past few years…they all trust in the fact that we’re going to go above and beyond and continue providing a top-notch festival experience and beloved community tradition, and that’s really what fuels us!”

Mikaela Lewis, Event Manager for the SWVT Chamber and lead organizer of Garlic Town.
Merchandise tent captain Andre-Anne and event volunteer Luisa.
100+ Festival volunteers make up the ‘tie-dye army’ to assist guests with everything, even photos!

Get Garlic Glam: Festive Merch, Family Fun, and Friendly Faces Await 

Among the stinky snackers, you will see attendees donning shirts from years past and present. The merch tent will have you strutting in style, selling signature Garlic Fest limited edition t-shirts and handmade garlic bulb hats, kid’s clothing, aprons with garlic puns, stickers, and more! The distinctive tie-dye t-shirts of the festival volunteers will guide you to friendly helpers who will answer questions and offer guidance. Several local businesses and non-profits offer children’s and family activities, garlic-themed demonstrations, and fun garlic trivia for the whole family during the festival.  

Bennington Museum children’s workshop during the festival near the Demo Tent. 
Chef Cara in the Demo Tent, teaching everything from crafting salad dressings, to garlic infused ice cream.

Enter the Garlic Wonderland: A Garlic Lover’s Dream Come True with Handcrafted Delights Galore

The article’s author is a massive garlic fan and was lucky enough to attend last year’s festivities. While she obviously expected garlic, much less expected was the magical world created by the dedicated volunteers. The festival is truly massive in size and the sheer breadth of products available. Beyond the abundant food choices, the festival also features a dizzying array of handcrafted goods, from handmade clothing, jewelry, woodworking, flowers, herbal skin and hair wellness products, local spirits, pet treats, and much much more. 

From personal experience, here are some strategic tips for first-timers:

  • Get there early! With so many people attending, some creative, garlicky creations were gone before I arrived. 
  • Organizers ask that patrons park in key parking lots on the outskirts of downtown to avoid congestion. Shuttles run every 15 minutes, and a tractor and hay wagon will take you from place to place once you are downtown. So leave the car and enjoy classic Vermont transportation!
  • Pace yourself. There are so many things to try, so do yourself a favor and don’t spend too much time at one booth or food cart so you can try a wide variety of treats.  
  • Take a look at the entertainment schedules online before you go. With live performances and demonstrations all day, you don’t want to show up and miss something you really wanted to see or hear (me and the garlic ice cream!) 
  • Get ready for serious shopping with small business vendors offering everything from handmade pottery and kitchen wares to garden and home decor, jewelry and clothing, and much more. Wagons, strollers, and reusable bags are all allowed and encouraged!
  • Bring mints and gum to get rid of your garlic breath after spending the afternoon sampling so many delicious and unexpected treats (you wouldn’t want to make anyone jealous..)
  • Purchase your tickets ahead of time to skip the lines, read up on all updated info, and view festival maps in advance at

Join the Garlic Community: Embrace the Flavorful Spirit of Garlic Town, USA

Ultimately, Garlic Town, USA, is more than just a festival; it’s a celebration of community, agriculture, the harvest season, and the beloved garlic bulb that brings people together year after year. So whether you’re a die-hard garlic lover or simply curious to explore its myriad culinary possibilities, Garlic Town welcomes you with open arms and a garlicky embrace!

Jennifer Brandt is a born and raised Vermonter and a recent Brooklyn transplant. She has worked as a freelance writer and event coordinator for the past decade focusing on food and Intersection with social justice issues. She has combined her passion for food and sustainable food systems with her Indigenous heritage by creating a series with MOFAD celebrating North American Indigenous folks in the food world. When not touring cities and the back roads of the Vermont countryside in search of the endless array of food and culture, you can find her taking Instagram photos of her rescue pup Bagel.

Vermont Country magazine

Vermont Country has a hyperlocal focus on the Green Mountain lifestyle, its personalities, events, attractions and culture. The magazine appears six times a year, designed to complement the state and four-season living. VtCo magazine is a Southern Vermont publication of Vermont News & Media.

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