Gilroy Garlic Festival Returns for 38th Showcase

It's that time of year again. The smell of fresh garlic bread, fries and savory pastas is about to take hold in Gilroy for the 38th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. 

This year's showcase, which takes place 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Christmas Hill Park, will see a return of live cooking shows, face painting for kids, and "Gourmet Alley," where the famed "flame up" demonstration will show expert (and rather brave) chefs doing a pyro show on huge iron skillets, according to the festival's website. 

Holly Baker, who works with the festival to organize press, said that this year's event will host a few new additions to the usual lineup:

"We have a competition that is called "Champions for Charity," and it consists of first responders. They're going to be doing like a "Chopped"-like competition," she said, referencing the competition show that regularly airs on the Food Network. "The winning team will receive $3000 to go toward their charity of choice." 

A slew of local musicians will also take the small stage for the nearly 100,000 people that are expected to show up to the festival throughout its three-day run. Although most of the slated performers are country artists, a few rock bands and some Top 40 hits will be covered by the Sugadaddy Band. You can view the full lineup here: 

By the numbers: 

  • On average, attendees gobble down 2 tons of fresh garlic from Christopher Ranch per festival.
  • The Festival Association, which plans the shindig every year, has given out close to $11 million to local nonprofits since its founding in 1979
  • More than 4,000 volunteers work to put on the festival, representing 140 nonprofit groups in Gilroy and nearby areas. 
  • Since 1979, more than 4 million people have flocked to the festival. 
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