The Cincinnati Garlic Festival makes a comeback this year at Arnold’s Bar & Grill this Friday and Saturday. Originally held by previous Arnold’s owner Jim Tarbell at (now-closed) Grammer’s in 1998, the parking lot gathering hosted local vendors, merchandise, and even a garlic bulb mascot. This year’s two-day fest will pay homage with an even larger variety of garlic-infused delicacies, a modernized mascot, and live music.
“We felt like it was part of our lineage since Jim Tarbell used to host it when he owned Arnold’s,” says Arnold’s general manager Chris Breeden. “Our hope is that it outgrows our walls and it can become an even bigger event. We have included eight other local businesses this year. Next year, who knows? Maybe we can double that.”
Garlic lovers can come together for garlic-infused beer from local breweries Listermann Brewing Company, Fifty West, and Rhinegeist; garlic pesto gelato from Madisono’s; garlic pretzels from Wunderbar; garlic soup from La Soupe; garlic breads from Sixteen Bricks bakery; and garlic sausage and meats from Avril-Bleh Meat Market. Arnold’s Bar & Grill will be serving up their own featured garlic cocktails and bringing back their roasted garlic appetizer.
To pay tribute to the original Queen City event, Arnold’s enlisted local design firm We Have Become Vikings to update the original mascot and logos and create limited-edition T-shirts.
The festival kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 31, and runs all day on Saturday, June 1. Local acts Root Cellar Xtract will be performing live Friday evening and The Cincinnati Dancing Pigs will provide the jams Saturday night. Admission to the event is free, and don’t worry, Arnold’s will be supplying the gum and mints.
Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com