Celebrating 25 Years: The North Quabbin Journey

The word “Quabbin” is derived from the Nipmuc word meaning “place of many waters” or “meeting of many waters”.  Quabbin Reservoir – photo courtesy of MassDCR

Welcome to the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival as we proudly enter our 25th year of celebration! This momentous occasion calls for a joyous celebration of our region’s remarkable journey over the past quarter-century. We invite you to join us on this nostalgic trip down memory lane, commemorating the strides we’ve taken in land conservation, wildlife preservation, flourishing businesses, thriving arts, vibrant culture, and the unbreakable spirit of our community.

As we commemorate this 25th anniversary, let us renew our commitment to preserving the land that sustains us, protecting the wildlife that makes our environment so diverse, supporting the businesses that form the backbone of our economy, fostering creativity and art that inspire us, and nurturing the community spirit that binds us together.

In 1998, the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival was born out of a conversation between farmer Ricky Baruc and woodworker Jim Fountain. As they discussed the lack of local retail venues for garlic and the need for galleries and art shows for talented artists in the area, the idea for a Garlic and Arts Festival began to take shape.

With Deb Habib, Jim Fountain’s wife Alyssa, and their artist neighbor Lydia Grey, the festival’s founding team gathered for a potluck dinner and contributed $20 each, symbolizing their commitment and enthusiasm to make the event a reality.

In 1999, the first North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival took place at Seeds of Solidarity Farm, despite the challenges brought by a hurricane just before the festival. The community rallied together, offering tractors, gravel, and whatever was needed to prepare the field and accommodate the expected crowds. Nearly 1,000 people attended, arriving by rented school buses or walking from nearby fields.

The success of the inaugural festival led to a decision to relocate the event to Forster’s Farm in 2000, a historic and more spacious location. This move allowed for further growth and development of the Garlic and Arts Festival, which has since become a cherished tradition in the North Quabbin area.

The Garlic and Arts Festival continues to thrive, bringing people together to celebrate the flavors of garlic, showcase the creative works of local artists, and foster a sense of community pride in the North Quabbin area.

20th anniversary quilt crafted by Organizer Lou Leelyn


Land Conservation

Wildlife And Habitat

Farms, Farmers and Farming

Businesses, Community and Collaborations 

Culture And Arts