Food Festivals

Delray Beach Garlic Fest Scavenger Hunt Starts Saturday; Win Tickets and More

Now in its 17th year, the annual Garlic Fest — affectionately named "The Best Stinkin’ Party in Town" — will return to downtown Delray Beach January 29 to 31.

And just in case you garlic heads are looking to score some free VIP tickets, we're here to tell you there's only one way to get 'em: participate in this year's scavenger hunt to find Mr. Garlic — the event's official mascot. Just like every year, you'll have to head over to the festival's Facebook page to find the link to sign up. From there, enter your email to enroll in the online hunt and join the race Garlic Fest staff will respond to your application via email with the first clue on Friday, January 22, and will last through Sunday, January 24.

"Last year, we had so many people who loved the idea of the real-world scavenger hunt but were disappointed they couldn't make it to participate," says Terra Spero, owner of Real Time Marketing Group. "So this year, we decided to add an online digital scavenger hunt so that more people could take part in the pre-Garlic Fest fun."

The winner (he/she who completes the entire digital scavenger hunt) will receive a VIP prize pack that includes a hotel stay during Garlic Fest weekend, transportation to and from the hotel, early-access entry tickets, and a special meet and greet with several of the esteemed Garlic Fest chefs.

Your digital scavenger hunt confirmation email will also give you details on how to participate in the fest's real-world scavenger hunt — now in its second year — taking place this weekend, January 23 and 24 in downtown Delray Beach. Each day, participants will be able to track clues announced on Facebook to find prizes hidden all around town. PS: An extra clue will be given to only those people who signed up online, giving them an advantage of sorts.

Starting Saturday morning, the Garlic Fest Facebook page will announce the first clue for the Saturday scavenger hunt. More clues will be released throughout the day as people find each of the ten daily clues. Both days — Saturday and Sunday — offer a different hunt to allow more people to participate. Prizes include everything from backstage passes to free entry tickets and gift items Garlic Fest sponsors have donated.

So hurry and sign up, while it's not too late. Even if you don't win, it's still worth the effort. This year, Garlic Fest organizers will be randomly selecting ten people who sign up to the scavenger hunt to receive free general admission tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday access; one lucky individual will even receive a backstage pass to meet one of the fest's headlining bands.

Since its inception, the Delray Beach Garlic Fest has become one of South Florida's premier foodie events. What began in 1999 as a small, locally-run event created to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations has now morphed into one of the area's biggest food-focused affairs. This year, the event is expected to see over 50,000 guests, and is anticipated to raise more than $600,000 in charitable contributions for the 16 non-profit organizations it represents.

Over the years, countless garlic-flavored recipes and unique dishes have been created by some of the area's top professional chefs, with new ones added each year, featured in the fest's Gourmet Alley concessionaires. There you can find everything from garlic ice cream and Argentinean garlic barbecue, to Garlic Fest crab cakes. 

Watch on as local chefs go head-to-head in the event's annual Garlic Chef Competition, taking place this year on January 30 and 31, and featuring participating chefs from Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade County. You won't want to miss this year's showdown as reigning, three-time Garlic Chef champion — Delray Beach's own chef Bruce Feingold of Dada’s — looks to make a fourth straight win.  

The tented main stage will open at 6 p.m. Friday, January 29. In addition to all that garlic, over the past few years the event is also known for bringing some well-known music acts to Delray Beach. In the past, performances have included Dispatch, The Wailers, and Rebellion. For the 2016 lineup, opening night will feature headlining band, Iration, who'll be bringing their reggae rhythms to the stage for the first time, followed by Taking Back Sunday, a pop-punk band best-known for their 2006 release of Louder Now featuring the hit single "MakeDamnSure." 

BONUS: Even if you can't participate in the online or real world scavenger hunt, the fun doesn't stop there. During the event, Garlic Fest officials will be hiding 20 golden laminated garlic photos at various sponsor booths. Anyone who is able to find all 20 — and take a picture of each —will be entered to win tickets for all three days to next year's Garlic Fest. Once you find them, simply share them on the Garlic Fest Facebook page (or tag them on Instagram) using the hashtag #DelrayGoldenGarlic.

The 17th Annual Delray Beach Garlic Fest will take place from Friday, January 29, to Sunday, January 31. Hours are Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To purchase tickets online, visit

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna