Gilroy Garlic Festival Celebrates 40 Years of Family Fun, July 27-29
June 19, 2018 (Gilroy, CA): Visitors to the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival are invited to “Party Like It’s 1979” as the Festival celebrates 40 years of family fun on July 27, 28 and 29. For the first time ever, the Festival will welcome a genuine Iron Chef, Michael Symon, as host of the Garlic Showdown on Sunday. The 40th annual celebration also includes a new kids’ cooking competition, Electronic Dance Music DJ tent, up-and-coming country music artists, a garlic giveaway, and a fun vintage vibe throughout the Festival.
The Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage will have intense cooking competitions going on all three days. On Friday, MasterChef Season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale returns to the Festival to host the Champions for Charity competition as well as the first-ever Garlic Chef Jr. contest for young chefs under the age of 18. Olympic Champion and Food Network star Brian Boitano takes over on Saturday to emcee the Great Garlic Cook-Off, one of the country’s most prestigious amateur cooking competitions. And on Sunday, Iron Chef and co-host of “The Chew” Michael Symon will preside over the Garlic Showdown, in which professional chefs battle for a $3,000 prize and ultimate bragging rights.
The competition will also be smokin’ (literally) on the other side of the park, as BBQ teams face off in the third annual Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge. This event combines an officially sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society contest for the pros on Saturday with a Backyard BBQ Ribs Challenge for amateurs on Sunday. Guests can purchase samples and then cast their votes for the “People’s Choice” awards.
Since the very first festival back in 1979, the heart of the Gilroy Garlic Festival has always been Gourmet Alley, the gigantic outdoor kitchen where “Pyro Chefs” put on a spectacular flame-up show preparing garlic-laced calamari and scampi in huge iron skillets while hundreds of volunteers serve up all the official food of the Garlic Festival, from pasta con pesto to pepper steak sandwiches. Other vendor booths around the park offer a wide range of food and beverages. Visitors can taste award-winning wines from local Santa Clara Valley vintners in the open-air Wine Garden or try the 2018 signature cocktail, a “Garlic Festival Mule” made with Absolut Vodka and served in a souvenir copper mug.
Garlic grower Don Christopher, along with visionary Rudy Melone and master chef Val Filice, was one of the three founding fathers of the first Gilroy Garlic Festival in 1979. Ever since, Christopher Ranch and the Christopher family have been integral parts of the Festival’s tremendous success. As part of the Gilroy Garlic Festival’s 40th annual celebration, Christopher Ranch is giving away FREE genuine California-grown garlic bulbs to the first 4,000 Festival guests each morning.
Live entertainment is provided on three stages, with a variety of acts including rock ‘n roll, country, jazz, blues, reggae, and swing. On “Hot Country Sunday” at the Amphitheater Stage, KRTY 95.3 hosts new country artists Mitchell Tenpenny, Travis Denning, and Cale Dodds. And for the first time ever, the entertainment lineup will also include Electronic Dance Music, with DJs spinning tunes at the new Electric Clove Dance Tent presented by 99.7 NOW!
The Arts and Crafts areas on both sides of the park showcase unique, high-quality creations from over 100 artists, while the Garlic Mercantile stores offer shirts, gourmet products, cookbooks, wine glasses, and many other Festival souvenirs.
Visitors can try their hand at making their own garlic braid or watch garlic topping demonstrations. Younger guests will find live entertainment, rides, hands-on arts and crafts activities and kid-friendly food in the Children’s Area. And keep an eye out for “Herbie,” the Festival’s friendly new garlic bulb mascot!
Festival visitors can travel in style and comfort aboard the Caltrain “Garlic Train” on Saturday, July 28, or Sunday, July 29. The special event train departs from the San Jose Diridon Station at 10:00 am with a Garlic Festival past president aboard to serve as an enthusiastic and informative guide. The Garlic Train ticket, which must be purchased online in advance, includes a shuttle bus from the downtown Gilroy train station as well as admission to the Festival. Riders wishing to take normal weekend Caltrain service from as far north as San Francisco can connect with the Garlic Train in San Jose.
All visitors are encouraged to download the free Gilroy Garlic Festival app (available from the App Store and Google Play) before they arrive. The app is packed with useful features, including a live upcoming event feed, map with filters, driving directions, full event schedule, booth listings, and more.
The 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival, presented by Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods, will run from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 27-29, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 60+, $10 for youths ages 10-16, and free for children age 9 and younger. Parking is $10 per vehicle and includes shuttle buses to and from the Festival entrance. Gates close at 6:00 pm. Discount tickets are available online at gilroygarlicfestival.com and at Raley’s, Bel Air, and Nob Hill Foods stores.
For more information, visit gilroygarlicfestival.com.