South Moravian town preparing for annual garlic festival

Buchlovice Chateau

During the summer season many towns around the Czech Republic compete for tourists by putting on all kinds of festivals. Some towns have arts festivals of various kinds, while others celebrate all kinds of Czech folk traditions. Food and drink are also common themes, with Trebic for instance holding an annual potato festival. But surely one of the most unusual events of its kind has to be the "festival cesneku", or garlic festival, held every year in the town of Buchlovice in south Moravia.

Buchlovice Chateau,  photo: Czechtourism
Apparently the surrounding region has traditionally grown large quantities of garlic, so four years ago a proud local garlic-lover called Miroslav Hrdy decided to set up the festival. It is held in the grounds of the local chateau, and includes a "garlic race". Mr Hrdy explains:

"The interesting thing about the race is that the prizes are garlic-related - the winners receive garlic wreaths. The whole course of the race, around the Chateau park, is surrounded by wonderful smelling garlic. And to give the runners a bit of a lift they have to eat at least one clove of garlic before the race."

The festival, which takes place on July 31st, also features a seminar called "garlic is the elixir of life" and a chance to try garlic milk. Competitive sorts can take part in Czech national championships in spitting cloves of garlic. The record stands at 8 metres 83 centimetres.

And another highlight of the day is sure to be the singing of the "garlic anthem", with lyrics by festival founder Miroslav Hrdy.