National Garlic Festival draws thousands to Fresno Fairgrounds

The three-day festival, celebrating all things garlic, doubled as a love letter to Fresno County.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Call it an ode to the stinkin' rose.

The first ever National Garlic Festival and Food Expo drew thousands to the Big Fresno Fairgrounds.

The three-day festival, celebrating all things garlic, doubled as a love letter to Fresno County.

"Fresno is the fruit bowl of America and the fruit bowl of the world. Everywhere you travel around the world, in this country or anywhere else, you see produce and products and ag commodities from Fresno County," said chef Martin Yan.

In addition to vendors and live entertainment, celebrity chefs including world-renowned Chef Yan hosted garlic-inspired cooking demos.

"Garlic goes well with everything. With main courses, appetizers, even dessert. You know what I love? Garlic ice cream," he said.

A steady stream of garlic lovers lined up for the free samples of chocolate and vanilla garlic ice cream, handcrafted by Fresno's Heavenly Freeze.

Roasted garlic-flavored beer wasn't the only thing on tap. Garlic-themed dishes, from fries to doughnuts, served as crowd-pleasers.

The 2020 crop report shows Fresno County produced 77% of the nation's garlic supply.

Co-founder of the National Garlic Festival, Peter DeYoung, said the event was four years in the making but got a boost with the help of the county's federal COVID relief dollars.

"That enabled us to get out of the gate at 100 miles an hour rather than building up momentum and speed. It allowed us to promote the county," he said.

Festival organizers say it's time to reclaim the title of 'garlic capital of the world', while promoting the bounty of Fresno County.

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