Eat, drink, stink ...

Eat, drink, stink ...

The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival: tickets on sale now

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the famously pungent Isle of Wight Garlic Festival.

The Isle of Wight is usually content to bathe quietly off England’s south coast, gently fanned by the Channel breezes and playing host to the occasional yachting crew (or 500 during Cowes Week!). But each year, on the third weekend in August, attention turns to the island’s biggest summer show – its popular Garlic Festival.

The event, now in its 40th year, is taking place on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August 2023 in the idyllic Arreton Valley just outside the village of Newchurch. Sailing in under its rather wonderful slogan “Eat, drink, STINK”, it promises to be a whole weekend of fragrant fun for families. There’s an eclectic line up planned: chefs, food marques and a “Theatre Kitchen”, local artisan producers, live music and bags of children’s activities. Even four-legged visitors get a chance to be involved in the weekend’s dog show.

The Garlic Farm

The island’s well-known Garlic Farm is close by and works with the festival to ensure that the heady waft of Allium sativum (that’s garlic to you and me) reaches just about everywhere. It’s a great opportunity to experience the bulb in all its glorious forms, from the mild and familiar to the downright eyewatering (look out for “the Vampire Slayer”). The lovely caramel notes of black garlic even pop up in the beer! If you get a chance to visit the farm itself, it’s well worth it. They have an annual events programme themselves, plus a restaurant and shop (online too).

Supporting local charities

The festival also works closely with a number of charities like The Wave Project which aims to improve young folk’s mental and physical health through surf therapy. This year also sees the welcome return to the festival of The Flying Seagull Project, a fantastic outfit of clowns, musicians, and artists of all kinds who run creative play and laughter sessions to help build children’s confidence and communication. Something for kids big and small (and your inner child as well).

Tickets (including tickets for the whole weekend) are available from The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. Applications are also open for traders and performers who wish to take part. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of this year’s full line up via their social media channels soon.

Ben Colvill
Ben Colvill
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