Vampires beware: The 13th annual Garlic Festival is this weekend

Garlic cloves. Boil ‘em, mash ’em, or stick ‘em in a stew.

For two days only, head down to the town of Dragoon for the 13th annual Garlic Festival at the historic Triangle T Guest Ranch on Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31.

Sample from over 40 festival vendors as they bring their best roasted garlic dish including garlic burgers, garlic ice-cream, garlic-buttered roasted corn and more.

The highly anticipated festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days, with a $5 vehicle entry fee. The festival is set to have live music performances, arts and crafts activities, and an hourly raffle sponsored by vendors. The entrance fee provides attendees with three raffle tickets.

This year, the ranch celebrates its centennial.

“One of the best kept secrets,” in Southern Arizona, according to Ramona Holcombe, the festival’s coordinator. She said the venue has a colorful history. Once used as a top-secret, prisoner-of-war detention center during World War II, the ranch also served as an on-location filming destination including the original “3:10 to Yuma” starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. From John Wayne to John F. Kennedy and the Rockefellers, the ranch has an extensive guest list.

“I am in the process of getting on the National Registry of Historic Sites,” said Linda Kelly, owner of the Triangle T.

Kelly, who bought the ranch back in 2005, said the ranch had been a well-known “wellness spot,” where visitors suffering from lung diseases would stop by and “breathe some fresh air.”

“It’s changed a lot of hands over the years,” Kelly said. The ranch is also a “sister ranch” to the Triangle L Ranch located on Oracle.

Guests can see a timeline of the ranch’s history at the festival, in addition to translated copies of a rare memoir written by a Japanese POW who lived at the ranch during the war.

The ranch has deep roots in American popular history and continues to serve as a choice film set to this day. Kelly noted filming took place at the ranch this past January and February.

“It has lots of different history, we’re just trying to get people to know about it,” Kelly said.

Both Holcombe and Kelly, California natives, have shared over 30 years of friendship. Holcombe traveled back and forth between California and Arizona to help Kelly with the ranch the past 16 years until officially moving to the ranch last year to help Kelly full-time.

Inspired by the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, the two have successfully run Triangle T’s Garlic Festival for the past 13 years. This year, they will be partnering with Zee FarmZ, an all-natural farm that doesn’t use pesticides or chemicals.

In the past, the festival has seen anywhere from 2,500 and 3,000 festival attendees. The two are hoping this year’s centennial will bring about a livelier turnout.

Proceeds from this year’s Garlic Festival go to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Make a Wish Foundation.

The Triangle T Guest Ranch is 60 miles southeast of Tucson, in Texas Canyon. Visitors are recommended to take I-10 to exit 318. The ranch is located at 4190 Dragoon Rd.

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