by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Braided garlic was sold throughout the weekend.Good weather, nearly two dozen food vendors, 65 arts and craft vendors, about 150 volunteers and an estimated 20,000 attendees proved it can indeed be “chic to reek” at the North Plains "Summer Fest and Garlic Out West" garlic festival last weekend.

The annual parade, live music, car show and all things garlic helped carry on the traditional event, held in North Plains for the last 17 years.

Patti Burns, volunteer coordinator for the North Plains Events Association, said “it’s the best it’s ever been” when it came to organization and setup on opening day last Friday.

Although she doesn’t have the numbers yet, Burns estimated attendance was down this year, likely “due to the problems. I think people thought it was canceled.”

Burns was referring to the change in event organization leadership and the booking of a second garlic festival -- bearing the name used historically, “Elephant Garlic Festival” -- in Banks Aug. 16 to 18, which was later canceled.

“This event means everything to North Plains,” said Burns. “It’s important to those who started the event to continue to keep it running for the future. Community members stepped up and worked hard to keep it here.”by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Jordyn Brenheman and Mike Jodoin of Miss Hannahs Gourmet Popcorn Co. roasted up garlic kettle corn during their first year vending at the festival.

“I couldn’t believe how many people stopped by to thank us for keeping the festival in North Plains,” she said.

Burns said Sunday attendance looked to be the highest she can remember, and the music and parade were big hits.

The North Plains Historical Society members manned a booth for those interested in the town's history, complete with a yoke used on the Oregon Trail.

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Robert and Lolita Fegurgur, along with their daughters (Samantha, Kristin and Jessica) set up Three Sisters Bento for the first time at the garlic festival because they heard it was a good venue for vendors. They won second place in the cooking contest Friday. And of course, there was the food. Attendees snacked on everything from the commonplace, such as garlic mashed potatoes, to the more unusual — roasted garlic ice cream.

Just Shuck It won the cooking contest Friday with their garlic oysters. Three Sisters Bento won second place with their garlic-marinated barbeque and Lariat Ladies won third place with their garlicky Philly cheese steak sandwich.

"North Plains wants to continue this tradition," Burns said.

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