Destinations | Destinations

All hail the pungent bulb

Scampi chef Pat Vickroy shows off a pan of his shrimp at last year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. Scampi chef Pat Vickroy shows off a pan of his shrimp at last year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. (Bill Strange)
By Patricia Harris and David Lyon
Globe Correspondents / May 23, 2010

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JULY 23-25

GILROY, Calif.

32d Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival: Perhaps the only food festival with an “official breath freshener,’’ Gilroy’s huzzah for the stinking rose piles on the pasta, calamari, shrimp, and beef — all seasoned with the pungent bulb. Previous fests have also offered garlic-flavored ice cream, cotton candy, and wine. (Acquired tastes, no doubt.) Live rock, blues, and country music provide the soundtrack for this outdoor event in T-shirt and cut-offs country. Fabio Viviani of Bravo’s “Top Chef’’ series will do a demo on Saturday and host the Garlic Showdown of Bay Area cooks on Sunday. Admission $17, seniors and ages 6-12 $8. Christmas Hill Park, 408-842-1625,



Horse and Hound Wine Festival: The old canard that Virginia can’t make wine is a dog that just won’t hunt. This rustic celebration in the Blue Ridge foothills brings together established producers to pour their chardonnays, cabernets, and syrahs while horses and dogs go through their paces. Fruit wineries also participate. The agility dog demonstration involves an obstacle course, and any canine attending the festival can run it after the show. The muskrat race might be the most exciting, as Jack Russell terriers swim furiously after an artificial lure. Admission $10. Johnson’s Orchards, 2122 Sheep Creek Road, 540-586-3707,

JULY 16-17


Taste of Santa Fe: The first green chile of the season should arrive just in time for this annual sampling in a town known for distinctive cuisine. The Friday night gala dinner in the Palace of Governors ($200 and up) pits local chefs against each other, and includes blind wine tastings. But Saturday’s community event is the big deal, featuring samples from more than 50 restaurants, a dessert booth, and a wine garden. Adults $25 for 12 tastes, $35 for 18; ages 13-21 $15, 8-12 $7. Santa Fe Railyard Park, 332 Read St., 505-982-6366, ext. 107,

JULY 22-25


23d Annual Oregon Brewers Festival: Each of 80 craft breweries from around the country sends its best single beer to this outdoor fest, where malt aficionados compare notes, toast summer by the Willamette River, and trade homebrewing tips. Children and designated drivers get free quaffs of nonalcoholic craft-brewed root beer. Admission to grounds free. Taster packages with mug $10-$50. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 503-778-5917,


JULY 31-AUG. 1


Ballinlough Food Festival: A part of the general merriment of the Irish National Country Fair, this food fair and farmers’ market is all about slow food with a brogue. Not all fare is strictly Irish (they permit cheese from the continent and alcoholic beverages from Scotland), but the emphasis is on fresh breads, Irish seafood, organic fruit, and locally crafted sausages. The rest of the fair’s pretty interesting too, with fly-casting demos, falconry, horsemanship, and spaniels and retrievers competing in gun-dog events. Adults $19.50, under 16 free. Ballinlough Castle, 011-44-28-44-832-775,


Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; check online. Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at Read their food and travel blog at