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Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Garlic FestivalThe garlic plant, a member of the onion family used for thousands of years as a food seasoning, is celebrated every year at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Each July the town of Gilroy, California, opens its doors and, with the help of volunteers, dedicates itself to holding a party for the garlic lovers of the world. The event is one of the largest food festivals held in the United States each year and continues to grow.

History
The Gilroy area has a long history of growing and processing garlic. The first Gilroy Garlic Festival was held in 1979 as an event to promote the community and benefit local charities. Charities continue as a principle benefactor of the event with several million dollars donated over the years. Many of the vendor booths at the festival feature volunteers associated with non-profit groups.

The Venue
Christmas Hill Park plays host to the festival. The park is located in Gilroy with signs directing visitors to the area. Christmas Hill Park includes accessible restrooms and parking as well as tables and seating areas scattered around the open parklands. Visitors to the festival can expect warm weather and sunny skies. Sunscreen and appropriate warm weather clothing is suggested.

The Event
They take garlic seriously at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Vendors offer food products, souvenirs and novelties all based on the garlic theme. For many people this is the only opportunity to try a delicacy like garlic ice cream each year. Cooking contests featuring the pungent bulb are hotly contested with the winner holding garlic bragging rights, as well as some prize money, for a year. Various musical acts entertain the public from the free stage with a featured concert held during the evenings. The garlic festival is a family oriented event with shirt and shoes required along with a prohibition against pets other than service animals on the grounds.

Costs
The Gilroy Garlic Festival charges an admission which includes parking, three stages of entertainment and demonstrations. In addition, vendors at the festival offer products and services at varying prices. Discounts are offered for advance ticket purchases and for military service.

Getting There
Gilroy is located south of San Jose and can be reached by traveling U.S. Route 101. San Jose is the nearest commercial passenger airport. The Gilroy Garlic Festival utilizes lots and even farm fields in the area for parking. Free shuttles carry visitors from the parking lots to Christmas Hill Park and the event.