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Out-of-town Festivals


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The Yarmouth Clam Festival July 20-22 in Yarmouth ME. We won't be making it this year, but have gone on several other occasions over the past 10 years or so. It is drivable from Boston to secure better airfares. This is a nice small town festival with an abundance of food stalls from civic groups, with fairly little overlap from booth to booth. There is also a decent juried craft show and one of the churches has a massive yard sale. The "shore dinner" option (lobster, 1 lb steamer clams, corn on cob) has consistently had the sweetest steamer clams we've had anywhere. Bring your wet naps!

For those of you going to Gilroy, if they are still charging extra for mist tent admission, pony up the money. You will be much more comfortable with frequent visits to the mist tent. Gilroy is HOT.

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A post in the local food festival thread reminded me to say a few words here.

Unfortunately, I have to report that much like the town itself, the Gilroy Garlic Festival now suffers from a certain dearth of garlic. The event was big and packed with people, but most of the food and craft items on offer had little or nothing to do with garlic. Sure, there were concentrations of garlicky goodies here and there, and an Iron Chef-inspired competition stage, but it's a pale imitation of its former self, and functions more like a county fair nowadays. I never found a stand for The Stinking Rose (and their legendary 40-clove sandwich), long a fixture of the festival in the 80s. Disappointed, we bought some jelly and a few local garlic braids and headed out of town.

Imports have driven down garlic production in Gilroy to the point that fewer than 70 acres are under cultivation by the last three surviving producers, down over 80% in the past decade. Even Christopher Ranch, long the king of Gilroy growers, has moved most of its production to the Central Valley, and sold out to ConAgra in the mid-90s. You can no longer smell the town prior to the first highway sign for its exit, and in fact developers are now slapping up modern subdivisions at a furious pace...unthinkable back when the aromatic atmosphere used to repel people from Gilroy during midsummer. Sigh.

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