Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Easton Garlic Fest Set to Welcome 10,000 Lovers of the Stinking Rose

By Christina Georgiou

Easton Mayor Sal Panto checks out an Easton Garlic Fest
t-shirt during a press conference about the event Tuesday
afternoon at Valenca Restaurant, while event organizer
Jo Moranvill happily looks on. The t-shirts, though in brown,
will be sold at the event, set for Saturday and Sunday,
October 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

 It's expected that more than 10,000 people will attend the annual Easton Garlic Fest this year, and organizers say the two day celebration of the "stinking rose", set for Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, will be the best ever.

Abe Lopez of Valenca restaurant on the Centre Square will serve as this year's festival headline chef, along with more than a dozen other pros who will keep the crowd entertained--and well-fed--with cooking demos and cook-off events, announced Garlic Fest organizer Jo Moranville Tuesday afternoon.

Lopez will not only cook for the crowds, but also will represent Easton along with Mayor Sal Panto in the "3 Mayors Cook-Off" which will also include Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who will also bring chefs from restaurants in their cities to compete against each other in an effort to create the best garlic-based dish.

Panto jokingly blamed Callahan's defeating him at last year's Garlic Fest on the Bethlehem mayor's mother-in-law, who is from Italy and served up a delicious traditional dish, along with her authentic accent charming the crowd while describing it.

Easton Garlic Fest headline chef Abe Lopez, left, laughs as
Mayor Sal Panto, center describes how Bethlehem Mayor
John Callahan beat him last year with the help of his Italian
mother-in-law during the Mayors Cook-off event. Both
said they plan to take the prize this year.
"But we're going to win this year with the help of Abe Lopez," Panto said with a smile.

Lopez will also judge the "Farm to Market Iron Chef Cook-off", show off his personal skills with cooking demonstrations, and create dishes to be entered in the "Gastric Garlic" and "Dangerous Desserts" contests during the two-day affair.

Moranville noted that the public is invited to also take part in both contests, which have a "People's Choice" award. For a small fee, guests can sample entries and vote for their favorites.

"He'll have a lot of duties at the fest," Moranville said.

Lopez said that while the festival makes his restaurant a busy place, he's honored to have his work showcased.

"This is a great festival, not just for the restaurant, but for Easton," Lopez said. "I'm so excited about this, and hopefully, we have a great time."

This year's Easton Garlic Fest poster was
created by Easton artist and Emmy
Award-winning animator
Maciek Albrecht, who owns MaGiK
Studios located on South Fifth Street.
The poster for this year's Garlic Fest, chosen from entries by both amateur and professional artists, is also locally produced this year too.

Four-time Emmy winning animator Maciek Albrecht, owner of MaGiK Studios on South Fifth Street, took the prize with his design of garlic bulbs whimsically posing on Centre Square in place of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. In addition to the posters, his design will be featured on t-shirts that will be available for guest to purchase.

Albrecht, who is locally active in the Easton arts community, also had his design chosen by the Riverside Festival of the Arts this year to represent that popular arts celebration, set for next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, and in its 17th year.

Panto said the Easton Garlic Fest is not only one of Easton's largest annual gatherings, but credits it with helping to make the city's booming restaurant trade a success.

"This festival...has a lot to do with Easton becoming a culinary destination, because it highlights so many Easton restaurants," he said. "At Garlic Fest, you get to sample everything."

In addition to food though, the festival will also highlight a number of local an regional small breweries with a beer tasting tent, local wineries will offer tastings, and the fest will  feature a number of bands during the weekend.

Headline bands include the James Supra Band on Saturday, and Pitch Black on Sunday.

While the Easton Garlic Fest website has not yet been updated to include a final schedule of the two-day event and the event map, that is coming soon, and festival-goers should check back to get that info and plan their days, Moranville said.

"It should be up in a week or so," she said, noting that as the festival has grown, so have the number of events to be posted.

"I really think we've hit our stride with the Easton Garlic Fest this year," Moranville added. "Stay tuned for more information.

Visit the Easton Garlic Fest's website at www.eastongarlicfest.com


  1. Hi,

    We'll be in Easton for the first time for the Garlic Festival... staying just overnight on Saturday... anything else we should check out while we are there? Appreciate any suggestions... Thanks! Liz :)

    1. Hi, Liz,

      So glad you'll be here for our fair city's stinkiest fest of the year--it's pretty awesome! I have the honor of being one of the emcees for the Easton Garlic Fest too, so if you have the time and are inclined, stop by whatever stage I'm at and say hi. :-)

      Easton has a very active nightlife too, so there should be plenty to choose from after the fest, usually including an art event or two, and there's always lots of local live music of a variety of styles. The Easton Eccentric posts a Weekend Guide every Friday morning that lists pretty much everything that's happening in and around the city over the weekend, so if you check that out before (or during) your trip, I'm sure you'll find a number of things you'll enjoy.

      In advance, welcome to Easton!