TONASKET – Dracula beware: the Garlic Festival is coming to Tonasket.
On Aug. 15 and 16, History Park will be the setting of the Okanogan River Garlic Festival, hosted by the Community Cultural Center (CCC) of Tonasket.
From noon to 8 p.m. on the 15th and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 16th, there will be arts and crafts booths, clothing booths, food vendors and lots of garlic.
“The proceeds go to the CCC and we’re a non-profit organization dedicated to providing arts and culture in North Central Washington,” River Jones, executive director of the CCC, said. “There are a lot of sponsors from Tonasket businesses as well as some in Omak and some private sponsors.”
Jones said the biggest change in this year’s festival from previous years is that there will be an entire booth dedicated to activities for children. These activities include a clown, face painting, storytelling, crafts and games.
Mariah Cornwoman, the owner of CWRay, LLP Farm and Forest Products, said that she has been a garlic vendor at the festival for at least the last five years.
“It’s great, it’s all things garlic. I have a garlic hat I wear. I’m a garlic eater, garlic lover,” Cornwoman said.
This year, she is just a vendor at the festival, but said that in years past she has helped to coordinate the event and find sponsors.
Both Jones and Cornwoman said History Park is a great setting for the festival because it is right by the Okanogan River and it has big shade trees everywhere, as well as plenty of parking for this free admission event.
“The Garlic Festival was started at the CCC. The first couple festivals were out front and inside the building. It was started by a small group of people primarily to showcase the garlic farmers and create networking, as well as to raise funding for the building,” Jones said.
Although she added that first year’s proceeds from the first festival were donated to the North Okanogan Ministerial Association to help the victims of the wildfires by Mount Hull nine years ago.
Cornwoman said thousands of people attend each year, including some from Canada, because it’s a “great community event.”
“I’m looking forward to hearing lots of great music and eating outrageous garlic-ridden food,” Cornwoman said. “The great thing is that when everybody is eating garlic, garlic-breath isn’t a problem.”
Along with the new activities for children, Cornwoman said there is normally a garlic-shaped pi&#241;ata.
“The kids complained when there was only garlic in the pi&#241;ata, so now it has other things in it,” Cornwoman added.
Jones said the entertainment schedule for the festival will be posted at the CCC as well as the co-op and that anyone who has questions can call (509) 486-1328.
“The festival is really fun. It’s a great, fun time,” Jones said. “I hope the people who attend buy garlic and learn about garlic.”
She added that there will be great entertainment as well as produce and fresh food.