When you live less than 30 minutes from Gilroy, a town known for garlic, one must venture to the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. If you enjoy garlic, this is the festival for you!
We enjoyed a variety of foods and walked around for about 2.5 hours. I would highly recommend you get there when the gates open, which this year was 10:00 am. We woke up early, ate a very light breakfast, and made it to Gilroy without much traffic. We were in the first parking lot; we were close enough to walk or shuttle to the festival entrance.
What we ate:
– Garlic Bread
– Shrimp Scampi, more like a thick garlic sauce with perfectly cooked shrimp, also served with garlic bread
– Stuffed Mushrooms
– Garlic Sweet Potato French Fries
– Garlic Pistachio Ice Cream
– Frozen Fruit Stick with Chocolate (no garlic)
While this may not look like much food, we left with full bellies. I really loved the mushrooms stuffed with parmesan and garlic, and the shrimp scampi. We also purchased the garlic seasoning to make garlic bread at home.
While the two men in our group enjoyed the garlic ice cream, I did not like it. The garlic was overly powerful, with a strange bitter and sweet taste. One bite of that ice cream was enough for me.
There was also an arts and crafts area, where you could purchased hand-made gifts, as well as a classic garlic hat! The festival has entertainment including bands, cooking demos, celebrity chefs, and shows for children. If you were also interested in tasting local wines and beer, they had a few tented areas to sample.
Gilroy can be extremely hot in the summer. We were lucky, as the morning we arrived it was actually raining and cooled off. If you decide to go next year, be sure to bring plenty of water with you, stay hydrated, and take breaks in the shaded tents. I would recommend that you get there early to avoid traffic and afternoon sun, so bring plenty of sunscreen. When we left, the traffic was backed up to the highway to get into the festival, which would surely ruin your experience.
I enjoyed the Gilroy Garlic Festival and it surely is a festival that is one of a kind!