Garlic Fest heist in bad taste, organizers “heartbroken”

Garlic Fest heist in bad taste, organizers “heartbroken”
Kat Rendek of All Things Food (right) and Judy Horvath of Hoople Creek Farm at the inaugural Eastern Ontario Garlic Fest at Lamoureux Park in Cornwall

CORNWALL, Ontario – Something stinks for the new summer festival – and it’s not the garlic.

With over 70 exhibitors and an estimated 5,000 visitors at Lamoureux Park on Sunday, August 30, Eastern Ontario Garlic Fest co-organizer Brenda Norman of Kozroots Community Empowerment Projects is calling the inaugural event a “great sucess.”

It’s what happened after that has left organizers shaken up.

The festival’s donated prizes (worth roughly $800) were stolen from the Lion’s Club Bandshell. Organizers had left the items locked up overnight following the event with the intention of collecting them during the next day’s clean­up.

“I was heartbroken and didn’t know what to do,” Norman, the president of KCEP and owner of Kozroots Garlic and Herb Farm, said in a statement. “Our volunteer team had worked for months to put on this amazing event and when we discovered that the donations were missing, all of the enthusiasm and pride from what we had accomplished was stripped away.”

According to organizers, the initial police investigation has proven unsuccessful.

“So KCEP is seeking the assistance of the Cornwall and surrounding community to help find those responsible,” said Norman. “If you have any information regarding these events, we ask that you please come forward and contact Cornwall police.”

Tips can be made to the Cornwall Community Police Service at 613-933-5000.

On the bright side, proceeds from the festival were donated to the Green Thumbs Project, a new market garden initiative for adults and youth with developmental disabilities.

As part of Garlic Fest’s fundraising efforts, KCEP was also able to collect garlic, artisanal, and local food donations from some of the festival vendors for future community projects.

“Garlic Fest was about showcasing local food producers, businesses, artists, and organizations from eastern Ontario who are working to help people and the community grow,” said Norman.

We did this and more thanks to our sponsor Homestead Organics, and our many community partners, including the City of Cornwall, the United Counties of SDG, Prescott & Russell Counties, Cornwall and the Counties Tourism, and all the community groups who volunteered their time leading up to the event.”

The Garlic Fest team has already started planning for their next fundraising event: a Garlic Gala at the Trading Post in Martintown on November 14, to raise additional funds for the Green Thumbs Project.

“In collaboration with a number of local chefs and producers, we will be offering a tasty meal prepared using only locally sourced products,” said Kat Rendek, coordinator at All Things Food – SDG Community Food Network and a director of KCEP.

A full list of participating chefs and producers will be announced mid­-October and tickets will go on sale October 26th.

To learn more about the Eastern Ontario Garlic Festival and the Garlic Gala, or any other tasty projects, visit

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