Mystic Gets Its Garlic On

Melody Rivera, Contributor

Olde Mistick Village held its 14th Annual Garlic Festival to help farmers, small businesses and vendors around the area sell their fresh garlic and serve garlic-related products on September 18-19.

Since the festival was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people from the food industry participated and distributed their signature garlic specials this year.

Chet Dimauro, the owner of Chet’s Italian Ice, was selling Garlic Sorbet at the stand and shared how he made it.

“We use fresh local garlic and fold it into our classic lemon Italian Ice,” Dimauro said. “Our Garlic Sorbet is only for the Garlic Festival, and it’s world-famous! People from all over the world visit the village.”

As coach buses arrived in front of Olde Mistick Village, people were welcomed by a band named Chris Mackay and the Tone Shifters. The band introduced themselves and kicked off the festival with their guitarist and vocalist, Tim Stawarz, saying, “our first song is about a relationship that garlic can’t even cure.”

Olde Mistick Village recently won first place for “Best Place to Take a Visitor” in The Day’s seventh annual Best of Reader’s Choice Awards. This is done to recognize businesses and places in the southeastern region of Connecticut.

Sticky Situations, a family-owned small business in the village, sold garlic honey, garlic honey butter, and balsamic garlic vinegar. The store had popsicle sticks at every table for visitors to sample their naturally-made honey and maple syrup.

The Cloak and Wand, a fantasy shop that opened in May of this year, gave away free wooden stakes for people to protect themselves from vampire attacks with every garlic product purchase.

John Rose, an employee from Ryan’s Pub, said the restaurant has been open for over 40 years. Rose, along with the other employees, was cooking and serving their famous Garlic Ranch Fries and Garlic Ranch Corn Fritters.

“The most interesting thing about the Garlic Festival is the creative food options,” Rose said. “The food is the highlight.”

Although most food vendors and farmers were from Connecticut, some were from outside the state.

Frank and Mary Ann Williams are garlic farmers who traveled to Olde Mistick Village from Palmyra, New York, to participate in the festival. From one village to another, they sold a type of garlic called Music Garlic. Mary Ann Williams talked about the history behind garlic and how it got its name.

“The garlic is named after a man from Canada named Al Music,” Williams said. “He developed the seed.”