Garlic Festival time turns the quiet rural town of Gilroy, California, into a three-day city-wide garlic Gilroy bonanza. The city is known for its fields of garlic with the pungent smell permeating the air during certain times of year.
Each July the Garlic Festival turns Christmas Hill Park, on the west side of town, and the surrounding fields into a wild and crazy celebration of this near relative to the onion, leek and shallot. At the festival you can expect almost everything to have a taste or give a nod to the revered garlic plant.
Food booths offer everything from the standard favorite of garlic bread and garlic fries, to the more exotic taste of batter fried garlic alligator on a stick, Cajun crawdads, buffalo, wild boar, kangaroo, frog legs, venison, and garlic escargot. For the real adventurous a big cone of garlic-flavored ice cream served up by Con Agra Foods may cool you down in the July heat. While the festival is all about the food, it is never short on entertainment.
“Fabio Viviani , the dynamic star of Bravo Television Network’s “Top Chef” series, will conduct a cooking demonstration on July 24 and host Garlic Showdown on July 25. The Garlic Showdown, presented by Raley’s and Nob Hill Foods, will match four prominent Bay Area cooking professionals in an Iron Chef competition on the Festival’s cook-off stage. The contestants will be given a “secret ingredient” and will have two hours to prepare, plate and serve their creations to a select panel of judges” according to the Gilroy garlic festival website.
Not only will cooking wars be on the menu, but also music, music, music. There will be musicians strolling around the festival along with several stage venues offering jazz, hip hop, rock, blues, country, reggae, soul, pop…a virtual juke box selection of music to dance to or just tap to the beat. If you are brave, you can also grab a microphone and sing along to Karaoke music.
For the kids, a special area is set up offering rides, stories, games, art and more. The Children’s section is under the shady Mulberry West section of the park where the whole family can enjoy the fun.
And of course the Garlic Festival just wouldn’t be complete without the appearance of the Miss Gilroy Garlic. The Garlic Festival Queen and her Royal Court represent Gilroy at several festivities prior to the Festival and of course are present for the entire three days of fun and festivities at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Gilroy Garlic Tips-
–Come early for the best parking
–Bring Sunscreen and a hat
–Utilize the “hydration station” where cool mist is available to cool down from the summer heat.
–If possible car pool or use the outlying parking and take the bus in.
–Sunday tends to be the lowest attendance
–Book your hotel early
–The festival is located in a grassy, uneven field so wear comfortable shoes
–Traffic on Highway 101 from the north tends to be busier than traffic coming from the south. It may pay to drive past Gilroy and turn around to enter from the south end of town.
—Discount Tickets available online
Travel to Gilroy, California the last weekend in July for a wild taste of this pungent bulb. The Gilroy Garlic Festival is unmatched and world renowned and sure to be an enjoyable family event.