Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gilroy Garlic Festival

William and I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival- I was the one who was primarily curious about it since I had heard a large buzz about it. There was a good amount of traffic but it moved fairly quickly- not like our trip to Half Moon Bay for the pumpkin festival which took us over 2 hours. It just took us about an hour and a half- we were completely SHOCKED by the number of people at the festival. They had a huge parking lot in a flattened corn field and they had free shuttle buses taking you to the festival. There were thousands of people there- an unbelievable amount. We got there at noon and were glad that we got there fairly early since vendors started running out of food as well as it was getting SUPER hot (in the 90s) around 2:30 when we left. And the traffic was still backed up when we left.

The first thing that we saw when entering the festival was a giant floating chicken. Somewhat random for the festival, but it was just for the Foster farms "say no to plumping" campaign.

Garlic mascots- I am impressed that this kid was able to keep that big thing on his head with how hot it was that day- nearly 90 degrees. This other balloon guy looks super strong- probably from all of the garlic.

One of the largest garlic manufacturers in Gilroy is called Christopher Ranch and they have an inflatable garlic guy- and check out just how long this chain of garlic is.

They even have special garlic hats

There's nothing like flaming garlic to spark fund raising efforts- check out how much they raised.

They had a kids area where they had spin art on frisbees, sand art, creating your own custom wax hands, making tool boxes (William thought that it was said that this isn't taught at home), winning hermit crabs, or one of these giant plastic aliens. Random.

They also had balloon bounce areas as well as a few mini-rides but the most ironic part was that the surrounding playground was completely closed and fenced off.

They had several stages set up with various kinds of musicians and even cooking demonstrations. Here was one that was going on- we didn't watch very much of it since all of the seats were already taken.

They also had vendors selling craft objects such as windchimes, face painting, wood blocks, clothing- the type that you would find at your typical street fair.

But the main event was definitely the food vendors. They had FOUR main food alleys where they had vendors. The best ones were at Gourmet Alley- which had two sides of yummy garlic goodness. We sampled the penne pesto (which was good- but a little spicy), garlic fries (MUCH better than the ones at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk- the garlic was better seasoned and cooked further), but THE BEST part was the garlic bread. It was unbelievable- so soft and flavorful. They also had garlic ICE CREAM- knowing my affinity for this particular frozen delight, I had to try it. Fortunately, I got a small cone for free.

I was expecting the worst but it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. The garlic flavor was very muted- but I would not recommend it. I was able to finish my cone so it was ok- but I definitely wouldn't pay for it. I also enjoyed trying garlic popcorn and garlic olive oil- but I didn't buy any because I was completely garlicked out. They also had other non-garlic foods for sale- like funnel cake, giant snowcones, corn on the cob, and various kinds of meats. But they also had Paella. I am a fan of paella but I thought that it was a fairly random food to find at the fair.

We tried to see the fire garlic roasters but it was too crowded around them but we saw it on a video on the shuttle bus. Pretty impressive.

All in all, we were glad that we went to the garlic festival but we think that it will be a "one hit wonder" since it costs $12 a person just to get in and the majority of the food costs extra. We had no idea just how popular it was and somewhat of an institution for the city of Gilroy- as they have 4,000 volunteers orchestrating the festival.


Brad and Erin said...

I'll bet that had some pretty nasty breath after the festival. Hopefully William had all the same things.

Bekky said...

wow - garlic ice cream, I salute your sense of adventure :-)