Garlic stored in a Searsport home is pictured in this 2015 file photo. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Garlic lovers can rejoice: Maine’s Garlic Fest is returning for its fourth iteration this weekend — and attendees can expect more delicious offerings and entertainment than ever before.

Approximately 2,000 people attended the festival at Lake George Regional Park in Canaan and Skowhegan last year, and organizers are anticipating 3,000 this weekend, said Darryll White, park director.

With each version, the festival has grown in popularity, he said, so organizers decided to double ground size for the event and add a second food station, drink area and stage for performances.

Maine’s Garlic Fest began a number of years ago at Crazy 4 Garlic, a Canaan-based farm focused on growing Russian red garlic and that was lead sponsor of the event. When the festival outgrew the property, the owners partnered with Lake George Regional Park to bring Mainers a fun-filled weekend that also benefits the only regional park in the state, White said.

Attendees appreciate the local offerings and music, activities for children and beautiful views and fall foliage, he said.

“There’s a lot of chatter out there this year, so we feel like we’re in good shape to grow,” he said. “And the weather looks like it’s going to cooperate.”

The festival will be held from  9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, and from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at Lake George Regional Park, 10 Main St., Canaan, and attendees should go to the west side gate for tickets.

Admission is $5 per person, with kids 12 years old and younger free. 

Funds benefit the park, a nonprofit that operates based on income derived from user fees and several fundraisers, White said.

A larger and improved festival also means more marketing was needed to spread the word, White said. Lake George Regional Park received a $2,500 grant from the Kennebec Valley Tourism Council with the stipulation that it match 50 cents on the dollar, he said.

The park spent $4,000 on marketing for the festival, including the grant. Officials took out radio advertisements and hired someone to focus on the park’s social media channels.

The festival will feature arts and craft sales, food from local vendors and a cash bar. There will be pumpkin painting, caramel apple dipping and a hay maze sack race for children. Kayak rentals are free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Yoga on the east side of the park starts at 8:30 a.m., according to the event website.

“We do invite farms that produce garlic and other garlic products,” White said. “That’s definitely a theme. It’s also quite varied [with other offerings].”

Vendors include Midsummer Night’s Meadow Farm in Garland, Wittsies Barn Quilts in Canaan, Mrs. Hartman’s Farmhouse Market in Dexter, Penny’s Alpaca Farm in Fairfield, Tupper and Friends Maine Maple Syrup in Cornville and many others.

Fifteen and a half hours of live music from Maine-based artists are scheduled for the weekend,  White said. He intends to keep growing the music portion of the festival.

Lee Sykes, Matt & the Barnburners and Sharon Hood & Dixon Road are slated to perform Saturday. Elaine Malkin and Gail Lipfert, Dwight Gagnon, Emee G. Smith, Brian Richmond, Clay Camero and Sagittarius Rising take the stage Sunday.

“I certainly want to meet the expectations that I believe have come from the vendors and attendees,” White said. “We continue to raise the bar so we have something to live up to. We hope to see smiling faces.”