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Garlic Lovers Flock to Annual Festival at Fairgrounds

Pungent: Chehalis Garlic Festival and Craft Show Offers Creative Uses for the Bulb

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The 17th annual Chehalis Garlic Fest and Craft Show brought vendors from around the region to the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds over the weekend to sell a wide variety of garlic-based goods, including beers, brownies and frozen yogurt.

Along with the vendors, seven garlic farmers offered 70 different types of garlic at the festival.

Channing Brothers, a farm based out of Twisp, in Northeast Washington, came to Garlic Fest for the first time this year. They sold six types of garlic, all grown organically on their 30-acre farm.

Teague and Kosma Channing, who run Channing Brothers, harvest all of their garlic using six draft mules on their property in rural Washington.

Teague said using mules rather than farming equipment is a lifestyle choice he and his brother made to work with less power.

“We have a smaller footprint because we have less machinery and less overhead in general.” Teague said. “As a farmer, that is better than huffing diesel all day.”

Other garlic growers at the festival came from as close as Rochester and Toledo and as far away as Oregon.

Garlic Fest, held Friday through Sunday, featured music from acts like the Locust Street Dixieland Band, the Backfire Band, Oncore, a high-energy dance band, and the Wild Snohomians.

Chef demonstrations also took place each day of the festival.

“We’ve done plenty of farmers markets, but it’s neat to be at a venue where people are so enthusiastic about garlic,” Teague said.

Organizers are planning a possible garlic cooking competition for the first time next year.

Garlic Fest, which had 109 volunteers this year, has grown from about 8,000 attendees the first year to 18,000 people last year.

Keith Francis, who came from Tacoma with his wife Sharon on Saturday for the festival, said he enjoys the new, unique vendors each year.

He left on Saturday with a bag full of garlic olive oil, garlic mustard and other themed goods.

“It’s getting bigger and better each time,” Francis said.

By Kyle Spurr kspurr@chronline.com

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