As we got off the bus at the entrance to the park.
For thirty years the community of Gilroy, about an hour south of San Francisco, has hosted a three day festival for its biggest agricultural crop, garlic. Each year it seems to get larger and more and more foods are offered. One of the most famous of all is “Garlic Ice Cream”! Yes, you read that correctly. In some places you hear that they give you free samples.
The whole purpose of the festival is to raise money for local charities. So far they have raised more than seven and a half million dollars with the festival.
Well, this year we decided to make the three hour plus drive to find out for ourselves just what this festival was all about. According to my figures 166 miles from our home.
She was ready to take our tickets.
But were we ever wrong about the time.
It took us 4 hours, and the last hour was from the time we got to Gilroy
until we parked the car in the huge dirt lot and got bused to the park where the festival is held.
There is no charge for parking and they hire what looked to be about a dozen buses to take folks from the lots to the park, which was anywhere from a quarter mile to nearly a mile.
Once you are at the park there is a fee to enter.
This year admission was $12 for adults, $6 for seniors and kids ages 6-12.
Programs were available at the gate for $1.
They told of the food booths, crafts booths, kids area, and the three stages where live musical entertainment went on all weekend.
Once in the park you can just stroll around and eat until you are too fat to walk anymore and just roll the rest of the way.
Food booths galore. And the lines were long.
And the food is crazy!
Everything has garlic. Garlic French fries were very popular, stuffed mushrooms, peppersteak sandwiches, pasta con pesto, calamari, scampi, Italian sausage sandwiches, and garlic bread. There are also wine and beer booths as well as soft drinks, and I think those are the only things without garlic in them.
We never found the free samples of garlic ice cream so we shelled out $4.75 each for a scoop of Vanilla garlic ice cream in a cantaloupe half after waiting a half hour in line. Hard to eat the cantaloupe with a plastic spoon and although I thought the ice cream was good, my wife say’s that will be her last time trying it.
We strolled, sat and listened to some great music, and meandered through the crafts booths.
And each time we got an idea of eating something the lines for that booth were so long we moved on hoping to find a short line somewhere else.
What shade there was was crammed with people.
We watched some of the cooks doing the stir fry, and even got a picture of this year’s “Garlic Festival Queen” doing a little stirring herself. Then we had a chance to watch a couple of guys working with the shrimp and calamari. Flames and super high heat were the words to describe it. Amazing stuff!
All together a long day, because it took us just as long to get home as it did to get there. Traffic tied up getting out of the festival and a bad road situation about twenty miles east made for a long ride home. It was a fun experience.
Gilroy Sights & Attractions review
If you eat too much, it only your own fault!
The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival is held the last weekend in July in the city of Gilroy, which is located 30 miles south of San Jose, CA. The idea … read entire review