Garlic lovers unite this weekend at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. This will be the 39th year for the festival and will run through July 30. Those attending will be gifted with all things garlic, from delectable foods to live entertainment. If planning to head to the event this weekend, here are some tips to get you through the day:
This year, the festival will run each day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., leaving you plenty of time to try every pungent food available. If planning on driving, daily parking will cost $10. From the lots, attendees will be taken to the festival entrance on shuttles.
If driving sounds like too much of a task, Caltrain is another option. This is also a great alternative for people living in San Francisco. Those looking to get to Gilroy can ride into the San Jose Diridon Station where a special event train will take visitors straight to downtown Gilroy. The train will run at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, transporting people to and from San Jose. The train tickets must be bought beforehand online and include admission to the festival.
Obviously, this is the reason everyone goes to the Gilory Garlic Festival. While garlic ice cream has always been popular, you cannot neglect the feast in Gourmet Alley. Some favorites include garlic fries, zesty garlic fried calamari, and garlic scampi. New this year as well is deep fried Gilroy garlic shrimp. If you want to give your breath a break from the garlic though, other options are available throughout the festival.
On Saturday and Sunday, guests can also purchase samples from the day’s barbeque challenge and cast their votes for “People’s Choice.” Festival goers can continue their sampling as well over at the open-air wine garden. With all these food options, make sure to come with an empty stomach.
While there is a plethora of craft vendors and music performances, the real highlights are the cooks who will be at the festival. For the second time in the event’s history, local first responders will be competing in a cooking challenge for charity. The “Champions for Charity” competition will award the winner with $3,000, all of which will be donated to a charity of the champion’s choice. This event will be hosted by Master Chef Season 7 winner, Shaun O’Neale. O’Neale will also be holding a book signing and the Great Garlic Cook-Off on Saturday.
Another big name that will be gracing the garlic festival is Giada De Laurentiis. Giada has been gracing cooking channels for over ten years, making meals on shows like “Everyday Italian.” The Food Network Queen will be hosting the Garlic Showdown on Sunday, which will be followed with her own meal preparation.
If trying to plan out your weekend early, the full schedule of events can be found here.
Here are some cool festival facts to share with your coworkers on Monday!
- More than two tons of fresh garlic are consumed each year at the festival.
- Close to 100,000 visitors attend the event each year.
- This weekend, Guinness World Records will recognize the Gilroy Garlic Festival as the record holder for largest attendance at a garlic festival.
- The festival, which is also a non-profit organization, has awarded over $11 million to community schools and other non-profit organizations since opening in 1979.