ORANGE, Mass. (WWLP) – The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, affectionately known as the “festival that stinks,” is gearing up for its 25th year celebration on September 30 and October 1.
Set against the backdrop of Orange, MA, this family-friendly event promises a vibrant blend of exceptional art, locally produced goods, delectable food, captivating entertainment, and a hopeful outlook for the future.
The festival will take place at the picturesque Forster Farm, located at 60 Chestnut Hill Rd. in Orange. The event spans two days, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m., regardless of weather conditions.
An array of over 100 booths will showcase the talents of regional artists, farmers, community organizations, and practitioners of the healing arts. With a focus on supporting local economies, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase locally crafted and grown products. Music, performances, and spoken word will grace three stages and the expansive outdoor fields, offering a diverse lineup that reflects the cultural richness of the area.
The event also boasts a Spoken Word stage nestled within the forest, where more than 35 poets will take the stage, many of whom are featured in a special 25th-anniversary compilation. The Chef Demo Tent will transport attendees on a culinary journey around the globe, complete with complimentary recipes to recreate at home.
Festival-goers will have the chance to indulge in a diverse range of cuisines, spanning from local farms and restaurants to global flavors offered by food trucks. Beyond the artistic and gastronomic offerings, the festival will feature over 50 workshops, demonstrations, and performances to engage and entertain visitors of all ages.
For those feeling adventurous, the famous raw garlic-eating contest promises to be a unique experience. Families will find a free art-making tent for children, further enhancing the festival’s appeal as a family-friendly event.
The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is dedicated to environmental responsibility. Dubbed “Orange is the New Green,” the event aims to minimize waste with a trash-free initiative. With only three bags used for an estimated 8,000 attendees, the festival recycles and transforms waste into compost, nurturing gardens instead of landfills.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles for free refills and to contribute to the sustainable mindset of the festival. Festival-themed refillable water bottles and artist-designed tee shirts will also be available for purchase.
The “Portal to the Future” area is set to host a variety of workshops focusing on local living and sustainability, including topics such as pollinators and heat pumps. Electric Vehicle (EV) owners will showcase their vehicles, from cars and tractors to bicycles and even a pontoon boat.
Admission to the festival is family-friendly, with a special 25th-anniversary offer: a half-price admission of $5, which covers entry for the entire weekend. Children aged 12 and under are admitted for free. Card to Culture participants, including EBT, WIC, and ConnectorCare beneficiaries, will receive free admission. Advance tickets are available starting September 1 on the festival’s official website, and on-site payments will also be accepted.
To accommodate festival-goers, parking is available on-site for accessible tags and carpools of three or more, while a free shuttle lot is provided for others. However, no pets are allowed on the festival site or in parking lots, with only service dogs being permitted.
The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival stands as a testament to the strength of community and creativity. The event is organized and run by volunteers, with proceeds contributing to its sustainability and affordability. These funds also support the festival’s community grant program, which benefits local initiatives in art, agriculture, health, and energy projects.
In the words of the festival’s organizers, “More than ever, people of all walks of life need places to come together in celebration and gain inspiration for resilient lives and communities, and a saner world.” As the festival embarks on its 25th year, it continues to fulfill this mission while inviting everyone to join in the festivities.
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