Monday, October 7, 2013

Easton Garlic Fest Draws a Huge Stinkin' Crowd

By Christina Georgiou

The Easton Garlic Fest drew an estimated 10,000 people to the city on Saturday, and nearly that number again on Sunday, as visitors reveled in all things related to the "stinking rose."

Event Headline Chef, Abe Lopez of Valenca restaurant, captured the hearts--and the title--of both official judges and the popular vote in the "Gastric Garlic People's Choice Contest" against nearly a dozen other contending local bistros on Saturday. 

Lopez's culinary prowess also led Easton and Mayor Sal Panto to victory against Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan and chef Joe Grisafi of Roma restaurant, and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Chef Tim Plante of Youell's Oyster House in the "3 Mayors Cook-Off" held on Sunday afternoon.

The newly opened Batuque restaurant were picked by judges for first place honors in the "Dangerous Desserts" contests, while the "people's choice" award went to Pearly Baker's Alehouse for their garlicky dessert entry.

As might be expected, garlic was laced in nearly everything during the two-day annual event. Vendors sold all sorts of garlic seasonings and flavored treats, including garlic ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and even lollipops.

At the beer tasting event, a special garlic ale was provided by the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers, while other local and regional craft brew purveyors offered up seasonal offerings, such as pumpkin beers, and other selections designed to pair well with garlicky delectables.

Of course, no outdoor festival would be complete without live music, and the Easton Garlic Fest offered up a wide variety of genres, culminating with a rousing performance by the James Supra Band, who had festival-goers dancing all the way to the end of the day on Sunday.

"This really was the best year ever!" said Easton Garlic Festival organizer Jo Moranville, caught near the end of the day on Sunday. "I'm exhausted, but it's really all worth it."

From what we observed over the weekend, we're pretty sure the crowd agrees with her.

Click on any photo for a better view.


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