August 13, 2007

Three reasons to spend the next two Saturdays in HL

Gourmet garlic, crafts, and tractor pulling all rolled into two Saturdays

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

Howard Lake will host three completely different events on two back-to-back Saturdays starting this week.

The second annual Minnesota Garlic Festival will take place this Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Wright County Fairgrounds, a first annual Wright County Craft Show will take place the following Saturday, Aug. 25, and a tractor pull Saturday, Aug. 25, also at the fairgrounds, is scheduled, as well.

Minnesota Garlic Festival

In addition to celebrity chefs and lots of garlic offered in several forms, the Minnesota Garlic Festival promises fun for the whole family, as well as offering local foods, music, artisans, games, and competitions.

The festival is Saturday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wright County Fairgrounds in Howard Lake. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids under the age of 12.

“We wanted a way to promote sustainable farming in the state that was more high profile. Last year was a screaming success,” said festival director Jerry Ford.

“We grow some of the best gourmet garlic right here in Minnesota. Instead of going into the Twin Cities to have a festival like everyone else, we wanted to have it out here (in Howard Lake),” Ford explained.

More than 100 varieties of garlic are grown in Minnesota. It is planted in October, harvested in July, and cured just in time for the festival.

The Minnesota Garlic Festival is described as the premier event for garlic lovers and good times, and promotes gourmet garlic farming in Minnesota, according to the festival’s web site, www.sfa-mn.org.

Together with the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, the goal of the festival is to support a healthy environment, family farms, and vital rural communities in Minnesota.

Celebrity chefs who will appear at the Minnesota Garlic Festival are Mike Phillips of The Craftsman restaurant, Alexander Roberts of the Restaurant Alma, Lucia Watson of Lucia’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, Phillip Becht of The Modern Cafe, Tracy Singleton of the Birchwood Cafe, and Russell Klein, known for past work at W.A. Frost & Company.

All six chefs were named “Restaurateurs of the Year” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine. They were honored for their commitment to local farmers, organic and traditional methods, and for environmental awareness.

They will prepare dishes in the al fresco restaurant at the festival called “The Great ‘Scape’ Cafe.” A scape is the flower stalk on certain garlic varieties and is considered a delicacy.

In the afternoon, three of the above-mentioned chefs will conduct a demonstration in the chef demonstration tent. Watson’s demo will be at 1:30 p.m., Roberts’ demo is at 2:30 p.m., and Klein can be seen at 3:30 p.m.

Entertainment lined up for the day includes Papa John Kolstad and the Hot Club of East Lake, kids’ musician, Will Hale; composer of the top 10 garlic hits, Marienne Kreitlow; magic for all ages by Star Michaelina, Mu Taiko Community Drummers, Middle Eastern dancers from the Jawaahir Dance Company, and the Qeej Group musicians and dancers from the Hmong cultural center.

“In addition to the chefs and entertainers, there’s lots of things for kids – it’s a family-friendly event with no alcohol,” Ford said.

“There’s kids concerts, kids games, and at 4:30 p.m., kids can make, decorate, and fly a kite – all included in the $3 admission charge,” he added.

For more information, go to www.sfa-mn.org or call Ford at (320) 543-3394.

Wright County Craft Show

The first annual Wright County Craft Show will take place Saturday, Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wright County Fairgrounds.

The event will be in the general exhibits building so that it can be enjoyed rain or shine.

In addition to crafts, a carnival will take place on the grounds, as well as a paintball competition, a hay bale throwing contest from 3 to 5 p.m, horse wrangler competition at 1 p.m., a beer garden, and food stands.

Participants interested in the paint ball competition can either bring their own equipment or rent equipment on site. Ammo must be purchased on site.

There is no charge for admission or parking for the event. For more information, go to www.wrightcountyfair.com.

NTPA Tractor Pull

A National Tractor Pullers Association sanctioned tractor pull will also take place Saturday, Aug. 25 at the fairgrounds.

The pull starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $10 for adult general admission seating, and $5 for kids ages 6-12. Children 5 years old and younger are free.

For more information, go to www.wrightcountyfair.com.

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