It's the last weekend in July, and in south Santa Clara County that can only mean one thing: it is time to celebrate the stinking rose.
The world-famous Gilroy Garlic Festival kicks off Friday at Christmas Hill Park and runs through the weekend. The annual ode' to the garlic clove has come to define the people and the plant that put Gilroy on the world map.
It seems the whole town plays a part in the festival, with much of the money going to local charities. Since the first festival 33 years ago, organizers say they have served nearly 4 million visitors 78 tons of fresh garlic and given more than $9 million to local non-profits.
Beyond all things garlic, there are art and food vendors, children's area, a teen zone, a cook-off stage and 50 live concerts.
This year comes with news that some 1,000 tickets were stolen from the festival office on Monterey Road. At least some of the tickets have been sold on line to unsuspecting buyers. Gilroy police warn that the stolen tickets, which have specific serial numbers, will not be accepted at the gate.
Gates are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $17.
Traffic on Highway 101 anywhere near Gilroy is expected to be slow much of Saturday and Sunday. Even if you aren't going to the festival, heads up - it will take extra time to get through south county.