The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival cannot hold its popular event this year given COVID-19 guidelines, but the organizers remain committed to supporting their exhibitors, promoting skills for resilience, and uniting community in a variety of ways. The festival is orchestrated by an all-volunteer committee of friends and neighbors, artists and farmers. “We’ve always said that the spirit of the festival extends beyond a weekend” say organizers, “and this is an especially important year to uphold the values and actions that keep our communities strong.” In keeping with the festival’s original mission to celebrate the artistic, agricultural and cultural bounty of the North Quabbin region and support those whose livelihoods are connected to the land and arts, organizers are pleased to announce several ways that the festival is celebrating community- differently this year!
Everyone can still support their favorite festival exhibitors. The committee grieves the loss of many valuable annual community gatherings, including the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, and understands the economic impact the loss of events has on local and regional small business owners. An enhanced list of Garlic and Arts farmers, artists, food vendors, healing arts practitioners, and community organizations is available at www.garlicandarts.org. Festival lovers are encouraged to reach out to the wonderful vendors for purchases, services, and gifts. Seeds of Solidarity Farm, one of the festival founders, will sell their popular eating and seed garlic at their self-serve farmstand, as well as Garlic Saturdays from 12-5 PM, Sept 12-Oct 10 at their farm, where there will planting demos and a pop-up artist each week.
Enjoy a variety of virtual presentations for the whole family. A playlist of engaging educational videos, performances and other resources will inspire skills for local living, family art projects, and more. These virtual resources will be available on the festival website starting late September. Garlic and Arts lovers far and wide will be able to enjoy favorite presenters and performers, and gain inspiration and new ideas at their leisure.
Take a Day Trip! Enjoy exploring the North Quabbin. The festival has put together a list of some nearby, favorite farmstands and markets to gather items for a picnic, and special spots and activities to relax in the natural beauty of the region. Find these suggestions at garlicandarts.org.
Community building and generosity have remained core values of the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival since inception in 1999. This spirit has enabled the festival to make contributions each year- now totaling over $45,000-to a wide range of groups and organizations that propagate agriculture and the arts, wellness and renewable energy, and economic and racial justice. For 2020, the festival provided a loan to the Cooperative Fund of New England’s COVID-19 emergency fund, and made grants to The North Quabbin Foodathon; Great Falls Books Behind Bars; The Nolumbeka Project; Pioneer Valley Workers Center cooperative farm; People’s Medicine Project; the Shea Theater; and a pottery kiln and supplies for The Launchspace maker-space in Orange.
The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival extends deep appreciation to the many thousands that have attended over the years, plus hundreds of volunteers and exhibitors. Resilience, cooperation, and forward thinking have kept the festival strong for over twenty years, and it remains so, as a source of inspiration that extends well beyond the wonderful scent of garlic. We proceed into a new and different foreseeable future, one in which all will benefit as we work towards the greater good with creativity and clear vision that includes good food, beautiful art, clean energy, and health and wellness for all.