36th Garlic Festival: better with time

Dispatch staff members, from left, sports editor Erin Redmond, reporter Chris Foy, photographer Lora Schraft, lifestyle editor Andrea “Andi” Joseph, and friends Carly, Georgie and Joe Gelsinger, and Megan Foley.

Another Garlic Festival—the 36th to be exact—is in the books. And boy, it was a hot one.
I spent Friday and Saturday out at Christmas Hill Park, wandering the grounds and bombarding Twitter with #garlicfest14 photos and quick facts.
After several hours in the sweltering heat Friday, I made my way back to the office to write up a couple of short stories for our websites. One was a brief on the Rotary Club’s Be the Match booth, which has been hugely successful through the years according to organizers, saving the lives of seven people. As I chatted with Hamdy Abbass and Malcolm MacPhail, who were hanging out in the booth, a rep from Be the Match asked if I’d like to sign up, but I’m already on the bone marrow donor registry.
The other is one of my personal favorites: reactions from folks tasting garlic ice cream for the first time.
Standing off the the side of the ice cream booth—no, I was not in line … I tried it once years ago and that was enough for me—I kept my eyes peeled for obvious reactions, grimaces, smiles and chatter among groups. I could have stood there all day, entertaining myself while asking tasters for their initial thoughts on the unusual treat, had I not been melting faster than the garlicky soft serve dripping from cones.
On Saturday, I made sure to bring plenty of water along for my day at the festival. While meandering around snapping pics and posting to Twitter for followers who couldn’t be there, I ran into our amazing photographer, Lora Schraft, who was out at the fest every hour all three days.
Of course, in between the difficult job of chatting with friendly strangers, listening to the country sounds of Gibson and Gray (only half was at the fest because the other half was in labor) and seeing familiar faces in the booths during Garlic Fest weekend, I did find time to sample some delicious food: bread, pasta, peppersteak and I think there were some garlic fries in there somewhere too.
(Let me just stop right here and apologize to anyone who came within arm’s length of me this week, as I was probably emanating the scent of garlic
from every pore.)
As Saturday rolled on, I got texts from friends who were among the crowds and wanting to meet up, and of course, the Dispatch staff gathered for its annual Garlic Festival photo.
On Sunday, I woke up and noticed the gray skies overhead, realizing that perhaps I chose the wrong days—the ridiculously hot ones—to attend the festival. And though I didn’t go out to Christmas Hill Park on the Garlic Fest’s final day, coworkers were more than happy to text me throughout the day, letting me know of the cooler temperatures and—surprise!—some rainfall.
I may have missed a cooler day and a few raindrops, but I sure didn’t miss any fun times at Gilroy’s greatest party of the year. The Garlic Festival is always a guaranteed good time, thanks to organizers and thousands of volunteers who love the fest and care about this community.
Even though we’re only a week out, I’m already looking forward to next year.

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