FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE)- On Friday, the smell of garlic will fill the Fresno Fairgrounds as the first National Garlic Festival will be held in Fresno.
According to event organizers, they are hopeful for a turnout of more than 100,000 attendees over the three-day event.
Event organizer Peter DeYoung says the idea of having a garlic festival began five years ago following the discovery that Fresno County is the number one garlic producer in the country. Data shows that 80% of the nation’s garlic is grown in Fresno County.
DeYoung says this will be hailed as the first-ever National Garlic Festival and is hopeful it will be an annual event that will attract people to Fresno to celebrate its position as the “garlic capital of the country.”
According to the event’s website, celebrity chefs such as Mario Lopez, Martin Yan and Rocco DiSpirito.
Although Fresno County itself lists garlic as number seven on its top ten list of crops by value, DeYoung says garlic has a different appeal to almonds, the number one crop.
According to DeYoung, the event will be paid for by a combination of private funding from the garlic industry and funding from Fresno County. Fresno County has also put in $225,000 – but support was not unanimous from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, with two of the board members voting against handing over the money.
“I really think that they had other ways those dollars could have been spent in their district, and I don’t think that they were perhaps seeing the big picture,” said DeYoung.