FROM live music and fairground rides to cookery demonstrations and extreme bike displays, the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival kicked off in style today (Saturday).

There was fun for all the family at the Newchurch event, with a host a fantastic Isle of Wight produce on offer including locally made arts and crafts, food and drink.

The star of the show was, of course, the garlic, and food lovers were not disappointed. Isle of Wight Garlic Farm sauces and chutneys, garlic mushrooms, raclette and garlic cheese scones ensured delicious garlicky goodness was the order of the day.

What to Eat television cook and food writer Valentine Warner gave a demonstration in the theatre kitchen, whipping up red mullet and aioli with plenty of garlic.

Stopping for a chat with the County Press, he was full of praise for the festival and happy to be back after giving a demonstration last year.

"I like to be around garlic, I eat an enormous amount of the stuff, so it's a no brainer. And what could be nicer than getting out of London and being by the sea for the weekend?" he said.

"The Isle of Wight has a lot of great stuff — great fish, good farms and amazing garlic. You can walk down the coast and find sea vegetables, and I'm sure there are great mushroom patches.

"It's a great place to eat, and what a lovely place to live."

Once visitors had eaten their fill there was plenty of entertainment on offer, including Haven Falconry and Wight Wizards dog agility in the arena and live music with The Baggywrinkles Blues Band, Abba Chique and Jersey Guys.

There was a kids' zone, with Longdown Mobile Farm animals including goats and ducklings to meet, and Paddington Bear even put in an appearance.

Festival chair David Holmes, who has been running the show for 13 years, said there was much more to the event than just garlic.

"The garlic is the hook. A lot of tourists come to the festival, and that's absolutely down to food tourism, but everything else is really important," he said.

"The festival is very popular with families so we really try to make sure there's something for everyone. The live music is really popular and Paddington Bear has been a huge hit."

And David's top foodie tip for festivalgoers? "The hoisin 'not duck' vegan dumplings from Dumpling Dumpling. When it comes to garlic, the mushrooms are hard to to beat."

The festival continues tomorrow (Sunday) with Isle of Wight chef Robert Thompson in the theatre kitchen and The Wurzels on the main stage.