Gilroy Garlic Festival: Bring it on!

Andrea Joseph

Who else is ready for the enormous annual gathering of people who love all things garlic? I know I sure am.
Next week will be a flurry of activity at Christmas Hill Park, where Gilroy’s annual Garlic Festival will begin July 25. Tents will be assembled, shade coverings will pop up and volunteers will scurry about the grounds, preparing for the crowds that will descend upon our fair city.
I’ll be in the crowd too Friday and Saturday—working—wandering and taking note of interesting things. One fun thing I’ve been assigned this year is to hang out at the free garlic ice cream booth, snapping iPhone photos and getting reactions from folks who are tasting the unique treat for the first time. And yes, I’ve tried it. I think it’s only fair this particular assignment is taken on by someone who’s been there, done that.
Though I won’t be partaking in the ice cream—once was enough for me—I’ll definitely take a break from the “workday” long enough to grab a peppersteak sandwich and some garlic bread, which are my personal festival staples.
If you’re a local who perhaps wants in and out quickly, simply to pick up some great food that weekend, you’re in luck. New this year, residents of Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin, Hollister, San Juan Bautista or Aromas can purchase a three-day pass for $30. The wristband pass is only available at the gate on July 25 and gives you access to all food, concerts and events every day of the festival.
For anyone who didn’t catch last year’s Garlic Showdown, hosted by television personality Carla Hall, let me suggest you check it out this time around. I sat in the bleachers as a spectator last year and was thoroughly entertained by the chefs and the the host of “The Chew,” who returns as master of ceremonies for the July 27 Showdown.
It seems Carla Hall is a great match for the Garlic Festival, adding a heaping spoonful of humor to an otherwise serious cooking competition. You could be a great match too, if you stop by the Be the Match registry—hosted by the Gilroy Rotary Club—outside the festival wine pavilion.
If I weren’t already on the bone marrow registry, you can bet I’d be first in line to have my cheek swabbed and added to the donor list. As someone whose nephew died in 2013 following a bone marrow transplant, it’s an issue close to my heart. Since the Garlic Festival is all about charitable giving, swing by and show your support for Rotary’s commitment to Be the Match.
Perhaps, for one reason or another, you’re unable to attend the festival this year, but you still want to see photos and read updates about what’s going on at Christmas Hill Park. Your local newspaper staff is all over it.
The Gilroy Dispatch and Morgan Hill Times staff will cover the Garlic Festival all weekend, and will share photos and stories with the Hollister Free Lance. You can keep on top of the action with our online updates: read about winners of the cooking contests, see how Dispatch Sports Editor Erin Redmond fares against Garlic Queen Brittney Souza in “Beat the Queen” and so much more.
Want quick and immediate news? Follow @GilroyDispatch on Twitter, where staff members will regularly post live updates on festival events, contest results and photos using the hashtag #garlicfest14. Or follow me @Editor_Andi for my garlicky thoughts and pics from the event.
And if you happen to see me out and about, wandering, snapping photos, chatting with random folks, stop me and say howdy. We may not agree on the merits of garlic ice cream, but I know we can all agree on one simple thing: We love Gilroy’s Garlic Festival.

Leave your comments