Making use of the newly upgraded Smith Pioneer Park, the Lower Nicola Garlic Festival will return for its classic two-day festival, including a few new additions to the lineup.
The garlic festival started as a venue for Lower Nicola locals to sell and trade their garlic, which has been popular in the unincorporated community for decades. From its humble beginnings as a back yard garlic sale, the garlic festival has taken on new forms since.
“It has expanded to include locals being able to bring their crafts and their canning, and inviting the little communities all around us to come and enjoy the day,” said Karen Knapp of the Lower Nicola Community Association, which hosts the festival.
This year’s festival, happening September 23 and 24, will feature garlic festival staples like garlic ice cream, the community concession, live music, vendors, and an opportunity to connect with the community. More than 60 vendors from across the province and beyond are registered for the event.
In addition to the classic garlic festival events, this year’s festival will feature an expanded kids corner, such as a kids petting zoo on Saturday, and a performance by illusionist Estry Hiltz. The festival will make use of the newly upgraded Smith Pioneer park, including the new bandshell, which will host live music for the first time during the festival.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to expanding on the kids corner,” said Knapp. “And the musicians change every year, and I have to admit, they do it by donation, they are volunteering their time to to entertain the community.”
The full lineup of live music for both days of festival includes local and visiting artists looking to entertain the crowds with a variety of genres, from classic rock to country. Knapp noted the variety isn’t limited to music, it applies to the dozens of vendors as well.
“We range from garlic to moonshine,” said Knapp with a laugh.
The Lower Nicola Garlic Festival relies on a large amount of volunteer power to keep operations running smoothly over the two days of the festival, plus set up and take down efforts. More than a dozen volunteers look after the concession, tend to vendors, and clean bathrooms.
Profits from the garlic festival go to the the Lower Nicola Community Association, which Knapp said recently had its community hall flood, resulting in costly repairs and the hall sitting empty until recently being reopened.
For more information on the Lower Nicola Community Association, including the garlic festival, visit www.lowernicolacommunity.com.