Gilroy Garlic Festival

The Gilroy Garlic Festival celebrates the city's greatest agricultural bounty. This culinary staple that can turn an ordinary meal into something extraordinary is worth celebrating.

Gilroy Garlic Festival Facts and History

Gilroy Garlic Festival Food
Gilroy Garlic Festival Food Vendors  Image: Jason Riedy (flickr)

Since 1979, this community in Santa Clara County has gathered for the July festival, which has grown and its expanded over its fun history. The 2011 Gilroy Garlic Festival California will be held at Christmas Hill Park, as it is with every year, the festival is held on the last full weekend of the month. More than 4,000 intrepid volunteers help the city put on the culinary festival packed with fun. The three-day event will include cooking competitions as well as live music.

The typical festival in the south of Silicon Valley include arts and crafts, food booths, and community gatherings—only this time, add in more than two tons of garlic grown and processed in right in California and you have a one-of-a-kind festival. The list of things to do is a long as it is tasty.

Since 2010, serious efforts have been made to make the event as sustainable as possible, building on a long heritage of eco-friendly habits. The folks at the Gilroy Garlic Festival California have worked with local suppliers to ensure locally sourced food is served to festival-goers, even squid from the Monterey Bay. Other efforts have been made to keep down waste and increase recycling, ensuring that everyone's celebration is good for the planet. This is something a bit rare for California events and holidays.

Tickets to the Gilroy Garlic Festival

Admission is required for anyone over the age of 16, who is attending the Gilroy Garlic Festival California 2011. Discounts are granted to visitors between the age of 6 and 12 or over the age 60. To save trouble, you can purchase the tickets online before you get there. You won't need to worry about paying for parking since it's free.

Directions to the Gilroy Garlic Festival

Christmas Hill Park is located in the south of Gilroy, the southernmost town in Santa Clara County. The official address to the park is 7050 Miller Avenue, although streets around the park are blocked off for the festival. Some of the volunteers help direct traffic, ensuring everyone has somewhere to park.

From San Jose, follow U.S. 101 south to Gilroy and follow the signs into town; the route is well marked. The same goes for Salinas, except you'll head north on U.S. Highway 101, one of California's scenic drives. From Watsonville and Santa Cruz, it's smart to take Highway 129 to U.S. 101. Highway 152 is good alternative to the 129/101 route.

Lodging near the Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy is a small town, but it has its share of accommodations, including several RV parks and campgrounds. Two California hotels are located near the festival park.

The Best Western Forest Park Inn, located on 375 Leavesley Road, has 122 guestrooms, complete with private balconies, and high-speed Internet for free. In the morning, you can stop for the complimentary hot breakfast before heading out the Garlic Festival.

Also close to Christmas Hill Park, the Hilton Garden Inn on 6070 Monterey Road, is home to a total of 137 guestrooms. Visitor amenities include complimentary Internet access and big flat-screen TVs. This downtown hotel is just 35 miles from the San Jose Airport and minutes from Highway 101. Both the Oakland and San Francisco airports are just under 70 miles away.

Image: Bill Strange, Official Festival Photographer

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