Contributed photo ReThink Red Deer volunteer Ryan Stelmack recovers some of the siding from the barn at Piper Creek Community Garden that the city had to dismantle for safety reasons.

Garlic festival a Red Deer first

Garlic City Market set to take place on Sept. 30 at Piper Creek Community Gardens

Piper Creek Community Gardens will be the most vampire-free spot in Red Deer on Sept. 30.

ReThink Red Deer has picked the venue at 1709 40 Ave. for the city’s first garlic festival, billed Garlic City Market. It is a pop-up version of ReThink Red Deer’s Garden City Market, which will happen at the same time on site.

Besides touting the pungent charms of fresh garlic, the event is a fundraiser to rebuild the Piper Creek Barn.

The city recently tore down the aging barn because of safety issues. ReThink wants to replace it with an open-air timber frame structure showcasing rainwater and solar energy harvesting technologies. A greenhouse could also be in future plans.

“We got an unofficial estimate that it would cost around a quarter million to bring (the barn) back to the original condition,” said project lead Rene Michalak.

“We figured it’s probably better to rebuild it as an open-air timber-frame structure and work with the timber framers guild as a community project.”

Michalak said they have submitted grant applications for up to $60,000 to $70,000 for the Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project, which will also rely on local fundraising.

A garlic festival is a natural offshoot of ReThink Red Deer’s project over the last four years to source and grow more than 40 varieties of #BeyondOrganic B.C. garlic.

“We’re planning to make the best varieties for our climate available as seed garlic to local growers in support of our Community Seed Bank through the new Guardians of the Garlic Seed initiative,” he said.

Local garlic growers and many familiar market vendors will be at the garlic festival to sell their fall bounties.

A number of other hands-on activities are also planned for the festival.

Beginning at 10 a.m., a timber-framing bee will set to work to build his and hers outhouses. A $10 contribution is requested to participate in the creation of each “spiffy biffy.”

Blacksmith Rocky Turel will be showing off the tricks of his trade, fashioning handles and hinges for the biffies. Visitors may also get a chance to toss a round or two of horseshoes.

Another event sure to draw a crowd is the scythe versus brush cutter challenge. The olds-versus-new showdown will pit a sharp scythe and some human elbow grease against a Stihl brush cutter.

Critter lovers will also get a chance to meet and greet goats and their shepherds from Baah’d Plant Management and Reclamation. The goats’ huge appetites have been put to good use at the community garden thinning out noxious and invasive weeds.

The garlic festival is free but visitors are encouraged to make donations, which will go to the barn-building project.

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