A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Gilroy Garlic festival. This was the 28th annual festival and ran the weekend of July
28. The location of the festival is Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. I have heard about this festival for many years and decided to accept the invitation from a friend to attend. I was one of approximately 123,000 people who attended the festival, sampling creations such as Garlic Ice Cream (which I will admit I did not have the courage to even sample. I did try the garlic french fries and became an instant convert to this delicacy) There is literally hundreds of Garlic dishes and relishes to sample or purchase at this festival.
This festival has its own Queen of Garlic who is chosen by a panel of six judges based on her personal interview, talent, speech about garlic and evening gown. Her court is also chosen, for the purpose of representing Gilroy at various festivities. Other activities include the Great Garlic Cook-off, cooking demonstrations by noted celebrities from the culinary world, art and crafts displays with opportunities to purchase numerous hand crafted items by local crafter and artists. A special children’s areas is set up for the enjoyment of all little attendees.
This festival was founded in 1979 by Dr. Rudy Melone as a fundraiser and has been a very successful fundraiser for local charities, raising a total of nearly seven million dollars for assorted causes. Individual groups and charities also run booths at the festival, raising additional funds for their causes. The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association is a non-profit organization intended to support non-profit groups and projects in Gilroy.
Gilroy is located on the central coast of California in Santa Clara County, just few miles from San Francisco. Clara County is known for its high tech employment opportunities and is often call Silicon Valley.