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Garlic Fest draws hundreds who follow their noses

September 22, 2013 Updated: September 22, 2013 at 9:40 am
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photo - Erin Craig-Fischi samples some garlic ice cream while walking through the booths Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, during the garlic festival sponsored by the Pikes Peak Urban Gardens at Summerland Gardens in Colorado Springs. Craig-Fischi said she has wanted to try the ice cream since she drove through Gilroy, Calif., the "Garlic Capital of the World." a couple years ago. Her first taste of the ice cream was last year at the festival.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Erin Craig-Fischi samples some garlic ice cream while walking through the booths Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, during the garlic festival sponsored by the Pikes Peak Urban Gardens at Summerland Gardens in Colorado Springs. Craig-Fischi said she has wanted to try the ice cream since she drove through Gilroy, Calif., the "Garlic Capital of the World." a couple years ago. Her first taste of the ice cream was last year at the festival. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

Not even flooding could keep Colorado Springs garlic lovers from their odiferous treat.

The event's host, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, had its patch at Harlan Wolfe Ranch on Cheyenne Road deluged by waters from Cheyenne Creek. But nearby Summerland Gardens was high and dry and took over the event.

It seems the Garlic Fest is just too important to postpone.

"Do you know how high the antioxidant content of garlic is?" said Michelle Reich, a garlic lover who had a booth at the event marketing her family's Little Chalet, which contains a healthy dose of the stuff.

The festival drew hundreds of people, who attended garlic-growing classes, purchased rare varieties of garlic and sampled a variety of garlic-heavy food offerings.

The whole place had that signature smell of spicy sweat socks.

These people love garlic on everything. They slurped up samples of garlic ice cream.

"It's pretty good," said Bob Donovan, an Air Force Academy graduate who eats garlic with nearly every meal. "Garlic is good for you. It's a healthy food."

Organizer Larry Stebbins said the recipe for the dessert is simple.

"They used two bulbs of garlic for 6 gallons of ice cream," Stebbins said. "Not cloves - bulbs."

For the uninformed - a bulb is roughly enough garlic to scent a football stadium.

Stebbins is the garlic guru of Colorado Springs, known for growing great quantities of the stuff and seemingly coming up with a stinky crop every year.

"I'm just a Larry groupie," said Maria Hatwood, who has tried to replicate Stebbins' agricultural feats with little success.

As the fumes from preparations for the festival's garlic cooking contest filled the air, Stebbins explained that garlic may ward off vampires, but it doesn't have to interfere with romance.

True garlic lovers, he said, avoid the smelly garlic powders that can have long-lasting effects.

"Fresh garlic doesn't seem to be less offensive," he said.

And, judging for the scores of hand-holding couples at the event, garlic lovers tend to gravitate to each other.

"With garlic, people either love it or hate it," Stebbins said.

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