BY CELIA GRUNDMAN
“The smell should draw them in,” says David Cox, executive director of Bloomington Garlic Festival. For the second straight year, the festival will run in conjunction with the Community Art Fair at Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park (formerly Third Street Park) on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
Music, art, cooking demonstrations, and all sorts of garlic concoctions, from garlic pizza to garlic ice cream, are highlights of the festival. Why garlic? Because it’s part of “a healthy diet, and we’re talking about how you get it from the farm to the table,” Cox says. “And I don’t think a lot of people realize how much effort goes into that.”
Besides educational speakers, food vendors (including Bloomingfoods, Lennie’s Restaurant, and Macri’s at The Depot), and 50 or so art booths, the fest will have free music all day and—new this year—a beer and wine garden.
In Garlic Fest’s inaugural year, Cox observed, people went back and forth between it and the nearby Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts.
“We’re really not in competition with that kind of art,” Cox says, explaining that the Fourth Street Festival has nationally juried art while the Garlic Festival and Community Art Fair provides a venue for artists primarily from Monroe and surrounding counties, including painters, woodworkers, potters, metalworkers, glass artists, and weavers.
Chris Martin and his wife, Laura Chaiken, are enamellists and co-directors of the Community Art Fair. Martin views the new fair as an expansion of the Fourth Street Festival that fills a niche for diverse, local, high quality artists.
“We see it as a process that helps everybody and creates a weekend that is a destination,” says Martin. “It’s a very family-friendly place, and the park is beautiful.”
On the music side, Tim Haas, festival stage manager and drummer for the Snake Doctor band—which will perform again this year—says top acts include The Dynamics and Jenn Cristy.
“The music is pretty much Indiana-related, and we’re trying to keep it that way,” says Cox.
Entry to the festival and art fair is free.