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South Florida Garlic Fest to stink up Wellington this weekend

The South Florida Garlic Fest, shown here at its 2022 event in Wellington, will return Feb. 4-5 to the city’s Village Park Athletics Complex. (South Florida Garlic Fest / Courtesy)

There isn’t enough air freshener in the world to tame the stench of this weekend’s South Florida Garlic Fest, set to stink up Wellington’s Village Park Athletics Complex.

At the 24th annual festival — now so famous it’s a “Jeopardy!” clue — this year’s garlicky indulgences will be topped by a music bill headlined by Alabama-bred country singer Drake White and The Big Fire (“Makin’ Me Look Good Again”) and Allman Brothers Band tribute act Steeln’ Peaches.

But the tried-and-true performer on the marquee this Saturday and Sunday remains the funky fragrant bulb. Gourmet Alley, the festival’s culinary hub, will feature 180 vendors selling all manner of garlic-infused dishes such as garlic shrimp scampi, garlic funnel cakes, garlic Portobello sandwiches, garlic jerk chicken in a cup and garlic waffle fries.

Returning for the first time in three years are Garlic Fest’s amusement rides, which were chopped from the festival for safety reasons during the pandemic, founder and organizer Nancy Stewart-Franczak told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Friday.

Garlic-inclined visitors can now ride carousels, a Ferris wheel, giant slides and a tilt-a-whirl, ideally before and not right after polishing off a garlic-roasted pizza with garlic sausage.

The South Florida Garlic Fest, shown here in 2022, will return Feb. 4 and 5 to the Village Park Athletics Complex in Wellington.
The South Florida Garlic Fest, shown here in 2022, will return Feb. 4 and 5 to the Village Park Athletics Complex in Wellington. (South Florida Garlic Fest / Courtesy)

Yes, there will even be fresh garlic sold by Christopher Ranch, which supplies the pungent beauties every year at California’s annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, the bash that directly inspired South Florida Garlic Fest, Stewart-Franczak says.

“Weirdly enough, we haven’t sold fresh garlic at the festival for probably 20 years,” says Stewart-Franczak, who has organized the bash yearly since it debuted in 1999. “We’ve also got garlic mac ‘n’ cheese this year and, instead of garlic ice cream, we’ve got garlic gelato.”

The live music performances — the only thing that won’t stink — are scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with South Florida-raised guitarist Eric Hansen, and continue with country singer Cliff Dorsey (3:30 p.m.), tribute band Steeln’ Peaches (5:30 p.m.) and “Livin’ the Dream” headliner Drake White (7:30 p.m.).

On Sunday, the music continues with the Melina Soochan Trio (11 a.m.), classic-rock troubadours the Friday at Five Band (1 p.m.) and South Florida’s Valerie Tyson Band performing jazz, R&B and Top 40 hits (3:30 p.m.).

If you go

WHAT: South Florida Garlic Fest

WHEN: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5

WHERE: Village Park Athletics Complex, 11700 Pierson Road, Wellington

COST: General admission via EventeNY.com/events is $17.31 online, while an all-day amusement ride wristband will cost an extra $30 at the gate. Parking is free.

INFORMATION:GarlicFestFL.com

Gourmet Alley is the food area at the South Florida Garlic Fest, where 180 vendors will serve all manner of garlic-infused dishes.
Gourmet Alley is the food area at the South Florida Garlic Fest, where 180 vendors will serve all manner of garlic-infused dishes. (South Florida Garlic Fest / Courtesy)

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