You don’t have to be the biggest garlic fan to attend one of Richmond’s most popular and distinctive summer events. But you do have to be hungry for a full-on menu of family-friendly fun—complete with some unexpected side dishes.

The 11th annual Richmond Garlic Festival runs from 10:00am to 3:00pm on August 18 at the Sharing Farm in Terra Nova Rural Park. And while this popular gathering lures legions of garlic-lovers every year, it’s also full of additional treats, ranging from a farmers’ market to birds of prey flying demonstrations.

Planning a return visit or curious about attending the area’s only garlic festival for the first time in 2019? Read on for details.

Richmond Garlic Festival at the Sharing Farm
The Richmond Garlic Festival is back for its 11th year. | Photo: The Sharing Farm

Garlicky goodness

This year’s festival serves-up a pungent buffet of attractions and activities for anyone with even a hint of affection for the ‘stinking rose.’ That includes tasty garlic varieties for sale onsite plus an intriguing array of freshly-prepared dishes to sample. Chefs and restaurants from around the region­­­­—from Pajo’s to The Passionate Baker—will be offering their own garlic-inspired creations at the event.

Of course, there’s one taste-tripping dish everyone should try here. If you’ve never sampled garlic ice cream before, now’s your big chance. Popular Metro Vancouver artisan producer Earnest Ice Cream has concocted a special chilled treat for this year’s festival attendees. Don’t miss it!

If all of these garlic festivities suddenly convert you into a full-on fan, why not peel back the layers and learn how to grow your own supply at home? Check out the festival’s 11:00am, 12:15pm, and 1:15pm workshops and you’ll learn how to create a garlic garden in your own backyard—or even in a pot on your balcony.

Richmond Garlic Festival
Don't forget to purchase some garlic to take home with you! | Photo: City of Richmond

Beyond garlic

You don't have to spend your entire time at the festival checking your breath! Informative free tours of the Sharing Farm are also on the schedule, highlighting the site’s home-grown produce and how it helps feed local families in need.

And while the farmers’ market will also be a one-stop shop for those keen to take home some garlic (there will be several heirloom varieties available), it won't be the only item for sale on the stands. Look out for vegan treats, healthy snacks, and locally-made preserves. There will also be artisan items for sale, including colourful, fudge-like slabs of handmade soap.

Looking for a musical interlude after all that keen-eyed browsing? The festival is also hosting three entertaining live acts throughout the day: Ravens Daughter, Rumour Mill, and the Heretics Old String Band. For a full rundown of the festival’s events—including workshops, farm tours, and live music times, click here.

The Sharing Farm
Take a tour of the Sharing Farm. | Photo: John Lee

More for kids

The Richmond Garlic Festival is always a child-friendly affair, with many visitors bringing their entire family along every year. But for 2019, the event’s dedicated Kids Zone area will also include lots of imaginative hands-on activities, including garlic stalk crafts, cardboard box free play, and even some math games. And if junior visitors get a little too hot, there’s also a recycled water wall feature to cool them down.

Keep in mind that the adjoining park area is also home to Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment, one of the Lower Mainland’s best playgrounds. Complete with ziplines, a pivot swing, and a stainless-steel hill slide, it's just a short walk from the festival site—­­and it’s a must for many visiting kids.

Avian attractions

There’s also another great reason to visit the 2019 event. For the second time, the city’s annual Raptor event has been paired with the Garlic Festival. That means a cool array of family-friendly nature exhibits and informative stands from organizations such as the Delta Naturalist’s Society, FarmFolk CityFolk, and the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL).

Don't miss the brilliant bird of prey demonstrations. Running hourly from 10:30am, you’ll be able to marvel at the beauty, intelligence, and flying skills of several birds. After the demonstrations, stick around for close-up viewings plus a chance to ask your own questions (of the trainers, not the birds).

Speaking of sticking around: while the festival ends at 3:00pm, you might want to stay a little longer in the area. Terra Nova Rural Park and the adjoining Nature Area are both lined with trails and birding opportunities. And if you want to walk off those three garlic ice creams you ate, the West Dyke Trail is just a short stroll away as well.

If you go

Admission to the Richmond Garlic Festival at Terra Nova Rural Park is by donation, with proceeds supporting the work of the Sharing Farm. While the event will take place no matter the weather, plan for a sunny day by ensuring that everyone in your group is well protected with sunhats and sunscreen. Dogs are not allowed onsite.

Starting at 10:00am, the festival is best reached by bicycle (there will be a free bike valet) or by transit: the 401 bus stop is a 15-minute walk away. Plan your transit trip via TransLink’s website. Driving? Onsite festival parking is for restricted mobility visitors only; but there is also limited free parking nearby.