History of the Garlicfest

GarlicFest Logo

The Notre Dame “Garlic Fest” was founded originally in 1992 by Fr. Bill Sangiovanni, a long-time Notre Dame administrator and passionate supporter of Catholic education. Fr. Bill was intrigued when he visited the famed Gilroy Garlic Fest in California.  He had the foresight to bring an all garlic-themed event back to Connecticut.

After much planning and with the help of many dedicated volunteers, the doors to the first “Garlic Fest” opened at Notre Dame High School in April 1992. That year, nearly 10,000 people attended the event and enjoyed the incredible selection of garlic-flavored foods and dynamic entertainment. The rest is garlic history!

Over the course of the next 12 years, more than 150,000 people enjoyed the festival which raised over $700,000 for the Notre Dame High School Scholarship Fund.  Notre Dame's last Garlic Fest under the leadership of Father Bill took place in May, 2004.  

The Tradition Returns....

Upon the passing of Fr. Bill in January, 2019, thousands of Lancers gathered to celebrate his life and many contributions to our community. Alumni, parents, friends, family and colleagues shared stories and recalled the many happy years spent at the Notre Dame Garlic Fest. 

After a 15-year hiatus, in honor of Father Bill the Garlic Fest returned to ND the weekend of September 20-21, 2019. The event drew thousands of garlic enthusiasts, Lancer alumni and friends of the school. Principal Chris Cipriano commented, “The Garlic Fest was a meaningful way to celebrate Fr. Bill Sangiovanni’s legacy. Father was a mentor and friend to many during his lifetime. His passing this past February was difficult. A group of us decided to take action and honor Father’s life by returning the tradition of the Garlic Fest.” We are excited to announce that nearly $25,000 was raised at the event which will benefit the Fr. Bill Sangiovanni Scholarship Fund and the students of Notre Dame.  

The Tradition Continues…

After a successful return in 2019, the Garlic Fest is back.

Save the Date - the 2020 Garlic Fest will take place on
October 2-3, 2020.

Fr. Bill

Father Bill Sangiovanni wearing his famous garlic hat.