Notre Dame Garlic Fest returns, honoring its founder

FAIRFIELD — The passing away of a beloved school principal and president at Notre Dame Catholic High School earlier this year motivated the return of a beloved fundraising event.

After a 15-year hiatus, the Garlic Festival was in full bloom Friday and Saturday, featuring food, live music, and outdoor activities for kids. The event raises scholarship funds for Notre Dame students.

“It was his vision to make this a big festival,” Theresa Marvik, director of special events & alumni relations, said of Father Bill Sangiovanni. He had been inspired by a similar event he had witnessed in California years before he championed beginning this one in 1992.

“It brought in about 10,000 people each year,” said Marvik, who worked with Sangiovanni for many years.

It was at his funeral service in February where alumni and families began reminiscing about how much they had enjoyed the original festival.

“We got together in April and we pulled this together in a few short months,” Marvik said, with various community groups offering donations in order to help raise funds for the school through the festival.

Dozens of volunteers — including parents and students — also helped make the event happen.

“We’ve seen a lot of people come back and reminisce about Father,” Marvik said.