30th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Travel Blog

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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.

What shade there was was crammed with people.
  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. 

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.

jerseygirl67 says:
Sounds like it was fun!
Posted on: Sep 23, 2008
X_Drive says:
Hey, this area's main crop is garlic, so they have gotten very inventive with what to do with it and discovered some pretty amazing things cooked with it. :)
Posted on: Aug 25, 2008
kerryandandrei says:
What the?
Posted on: Aug 25, 2008
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As we got off the bus at the entra…
As we got off the bus at the entr…
She was ready to take our tickets.
She was ready to take our tickets.
Food booths galore. And the lines …
Food booths galore. And the lines…
What shade there was was crammed w…
What shade there was was crammed …
But out in the background the boot…
But out in the background the boo…
In this area they were stir frying.
In this area they were stir frying.
Stir fry was very popular.
Stir fry was very popular.
the girl was laddling in some liqu…
the girl was laddling in some liq…
All four guys were at it all day l…
All four guys were at it all day …
Here you can see the girl adding i…
Here you can see the girl adding …
These guys were frying calamari an…
These guys were frying calamari a…
The Garlic Festival Queen got a le…
The Garlic Festival Queen got a l…
And then tried it herself.
And then tried it herself.
I just loved this guys garlic hat.
I just loved this guys garlic hat.
More food and drink booths.
More food and drink booths.
Looking out into a sunny area the …
Looking out into a sunny area the…
But this is not looking at food bo…
But this is not looking at food b…
I like railroads, so I had to look…
I like railroads, so I had to loo…
He was asking $250 to $400 each fo…
He was asking $250 to $400 each f…
Nice, but a little steep
Nice, but a little steep
Caboose
Caboose
Even a gazebo among the railroad s…
Even a gazebo among the railroad …
Must be getting closer to food, mo…
Must be getting closer to food, m…
Yep, more food ahead.
Yep, more food ahead.
And there is the ice cream booth.
And there is the ice cream booth.
Our Vanilla Garlic Ice Cream serve…
Our Vanilla Garlic Ice Cream serv…
More booths
More booths
Neat hanging items.
Neat hanging items.
More food, Cajun even.
More food, Cajun even.
And more food
And more food
And back to the guys cooking.
And back to the guys cooking.
Getting those pans hot.
Getting those pans hot.
Let it heat
Let it heat
And then get the flames!
And then get the flames!
Aw come on, bigger!!
Aw come on, bigger!!
Now the other guy
Now the other guy
Really big flames!!
Really big flames!!
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
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photo by: X_Drive