One of the city's most popular food festivals kicked off Sunday morning as the Ukrainian Food Fest left the intersection of Notre Dame and Elm Street smelling of fresh garlic and a myriad of delicious Ukrainian dishes.
The cancellation of the Canadian Garlic Festival was met with some dismay from locals, but born out of that was the Ukrainian Food Fest which is expected to draw close to 2,000 Sudburians to the city's downtown.
"We didn't do garlic fest last year because of poutine fest, but we're back with an event that I think the community really enjoys," said Sandra Sharko, festival organizer and president of the Ukrainian Seniors' Centre.
The new iteration of the food festival is a scaled back, hyper-local event that includes 11 Ontario garlic vendors and traditional handmade tradtitional Ukrainian fare, including cabbage rolls, pyrohy, sausage tartlets, garllos, savoury chicken, baked beans, vegetarian chili, and bruschetta focaccia.
"We had a lot of people calling with requests of foods that they wanted," said Sharko. "Whatever people wanted, we'll make."
The former garlic festival was done on a larger scale, with as many as 100 volunteers brought in to keep things running smoothly, along with out of town musicians hired to entertain the crowds throughout the day.
"We've gone back to a much more grassroots approach," said Sharko. "We're running this festival with only about 30 volunteers. This used to be a paid admission event and now it's free to get in, our musicians are local Ukrainian seniors, so it's definitely a very community-centred event."
The funds raised from the event will be split between the Ukrainian Seniors' Centre and a community organization of the centre's choosing. In past year they have donated to youth groups, churches, and the Sudbury Community Foundation, and Sharko expects this year's festival to bring in close to $15,000.
While the opportunity to help out different community organizations is one that Sharko values greatly, she proudly highlights the festival's dedication to bringing local tastes to Sudburians.
"We really cherish this because I think we're one of the only food festivals in Sudbury where all of the food is local," said Sharko. "All of the perohy and cabbage rolls are made fresh, nothing is frozen and it's all made right here."
The Ukrainian Food Fest will be on until around 4 p.m. today - or until they run out of food - at the corner of Notre Dame Avenue and Elm Street.
If you can't get downtown today, don't worry, as the Ukrainian Seniors' Centre does take food orders year round.