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The Gilroy Garlic Festival and Farm Markets

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

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San Francisco Bay Area Garlic Festival

Gilroy, in Santa Clara County south of San Jose is known for its crops of garlic, mushrooms and grapes for making boutique wines that are located along the Gilroy Wine Trail on either side of the 101.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is held the last weekend of July annually.

Events include cooking demos, a garlic cook-off, parades, Festival Queen, free live entertainment, free garlic ice cream, "Gourmet Alley" - a strip of good food kiosks.

The whole festival is put on for charity and about $7.5 million each year is donated.

This is a big fire, but the Pyro Chefs use cauldrons!

This is a big fire, but the Pyro Chefs use cauldrons!

The local garlic factory produces mass quantities of pickled, minced, and powdered garlic, all of which are used in specialty recipes at the annual event - even garlic ice cream! And exciting garlic cook-off is held on the Saturday of the festival from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Pacific Time and it is streamed over the Internet at the festival website.

The festival in Christmas Hill Park is adjacent to Gilroy High School and is alcohol-free and weapons-free. All guests must wear a shirt and shoes and leave their pets at home; but guide/service dogs are welcomed.

The Festival Site

Attractions in Gilroy and Northern California

  • Gilroy Welcome Center | Gilroy Museum: Gilroy is the Garlic Capital of the World—and we are proud to welcome thousands of guests each year to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in late July. In 1963, Gilroy formally established the Gilroy Museum in the basement of the 1910 Carnegie Library.
  • Gavilan College: Home page for Gavilan College, in Gilroy, California, with remote sites in Morgan Hill and Hollister. Includes a combination high-school and college credit school.
  • San Luis Reservoir SRA: California State Parks, State of California
  • The Wings of History Museum. 12777 Murphy Avenue; San Martin, CA 95046: The historical museum at the San Martin Airport features a number of restored full-sized airplanes, sailplanes, and even helicopters. It have a life size replica of the famous Wright Flyer and famous by the Wright Brothers and celebrated at the National Museum of the Air Force in the Ohio Space Corridor and the US Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
Gilroy is a city of about 49,000 people that produces mass quantities of garlic products.

Gilroy is a city of about 49,000 people that produces mass quantities of garlic products.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is held the last weekend of July anually.

 Butterfield Overland Mail stopped at Old Gilroy in the Downtown Historic District along Monterey Street.

Butterfield Overland Mail stopped at Old Gilroy in the Downtown Historic District along Monterey Street.

Garlic Festival Train

The Valley Transportation Authority offers bus and light rail service to the Garlic Festival from San Jose. The recommend taking VTA Bus Line 68 to Gilroy and transferring to Community Bus 19, which travels to Christmas Hill Park.

According to several announcements, limited light rail service is to be made during the celebration weekend. Call VTA Customer Service at (408) 321- 2300 or TTY (408) 321-2330 to find out if rail service is available from your location to the festival.

Free garlic ice cream at the festival.

Free garlic ice cream at the festival.

Gilroy RV Parking

RV parking is offered free, first come first served, just south of Christmas Hill Park at the corner of Miller Avenue and Santa Theresa Blvd. This park is good for self-contained RVs and there are no electric hookups.

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Another place, the Garlic Festival RV Park, is located at 650 Holloway Rd Gilroy, CA 95020. Rates are reasonable.

A third spot is the orchard complex called Casa de Fruta, complete with hotel, RV park, restaurant, fruit stands, and more. It is two miles east of the junction of Highway 152 (which has many farmer's stands) and Highway 156.

Garlic Specialty Restaurants

Black Bear Diner. 395 Leavesley Road; Gilroy, CA 95020. Garlic french fries.

Garlic City Cafe. 7461 Monterey Street; Gilroy, CA 9502. Gourmet sandwiches. Breakfast, too. Garlic soups and garlic ice cream.

Mama Mia's. 1360 First Street; Gilroy, CA 9502. Serves all the festival dishes all around the year.

Station 55. 55 Fifth Street; Gilroy, CA 95020. This is a converted firehouse that serve many garlicky dishes for lunch and dinner. Many free entertainment events happen here!

Sausage sandwich and special garlic sauce. Find this at area restaurants.

Sausage sandwich and special garlic sauce. Find this at area restaurants.

Casa de Fruta

Gilroy Famer's Markets

Blossom Hill Farmers’ Market serves customers on Saturdays at the Blossom Hill Light Rail Station at 525 Blossom Hill Road in San Jose from 9am - 1pm through the early autumn.

Casa de Fruta: 10021 Pacheco Pass Highway, Hollister CA 95023. Fruit stands, farm complex, hotel, restaurant and others. Seven days a week, usually 7am - 10pm.

Princeton Plaza Farmers’ Market operates on Sundays at the Ohlone/Chynoweth Light Rail Station at Santa Teresa Boulevard and State Route 85 from 9am - 1:30pm.

Downtown San Jose Farmers’ Market operates from 10 am - 2pm Fridays at San Pedro Square. Two light rail stations sit within two blocks of this location.

Downtown Gilroy Farmers' Market is open from 10am-2pm on Sundays at 7th Street near Eigleberry and near the TVA lot, where there is free parking. Family and kids' activities are held during these hours as well, until about Thanksgiving. A Harvest Festival is held during the last days of September.

Gilroy Demonstration Garden at 7360 Eigleberry St supports the local farmer's market. Open from 9am - dusk every day, it is a teaching garden (like a teaching hospital) in Downtown Gilroy. Anyone in the community may visit and even sign up to volunteer.

Pacheco Pass Farmers Market: 5600 Pacheco Pass Hwy; Gilroy, CA 95020. Reasonable prices! This seems one of the few markets that asks you if you'd like to wash your produce before heading home. Strawberries white cherries. baby arugala, pickle chips, sauerkraut, corn relish, salsas, sauces, marinades; and pickled carrots, beets, and garlic.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Patty Inglish MS

Comments

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 02, 2014:

I think I'd like garlic better than onion ice cream! Roasted garlic should be nice, I think.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 01, 2014:

Patty, I love the 1 st picture in Gilroy Garden Theme Pard. The story is great.

I have never heard of Garlic Icecream, not sure if I would want to try it, but maybe.

Voted up, UABI and Shared

lupine from Southern California (USA) on August 21, 2013:

Looking forward to it!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 20, 2013:

In fact, I'll take time and look tomorrow and post them on a Hub later in the day, about tomatoes probably - I have tomoto jelly recipes that are pretty good as well as sorbet.

lupine from Southern California (USA) on August 20, 2013:

Thanks, Patty. Yes, she really enjoys it, also makes all their desserts. If you can get the recipes, I'll have her make it for our family. Hope to hear from you soon.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 20, 2013:

At a restaurant!! How much fun can that be! I'll get looking.

lupine from Southern California (USA) on August 20, 2013:

I would love to try any ice cream, or sorbet recipes you may have. My daughter makes ice cream for a local restaurant here in SD. Thanks.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 20, 2013:

@lupine - Sometimes I have seen small quantities of toato sorbet in certain grocery stores, but usually more oftne in restaurants.Perhaps I can find a recipe.

lupine from Southern California (USA) on August 20, 2013:

I have not heard of, or tasted garlic ice cream, but would be willing to try it. Tomato sorbet...I would try that too, none around here though.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 19, 2013:

These festivals based on a particular cooking and food item are a lot of fun - have you ever tasted Garlic Ice Cream? Tomato sorbet is pretty good!

lupine from Southern California (USA) on August 19, 2013:

Patty,

I love garlic. Will use it whenever I can due to the great smell and taste; also the health benefits. I have seen on PBS, and heard of the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, but have never been there...maybe one day. I'm in San Diego. Love the picture of the hanging chili peppers and garlic you posted here. Just became one of your new followers!

Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on July 14, 2013:

Interesting hub, Patty and a nice overview of the festival. Despite its beneficial properties, garlic is quite misunderstood so it's nice to see a festival devoted to it.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on July 14, 2013:

It warms my heart to think of a town dedicated to Garlic!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 13, 2013:

I don't know about garlic ice cream, but the ice cream version makes a lot of foods taste good - dill pickle ice cream is pretty good - a trace of saltiness - and salmon ice cream is even good. I was surprised by both.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 13, 2013:

I hope you enjoy it when you get a chanced to visit the festival. Som of these food festivals are the largest events in the country, anbnd a lot of fun.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 13, 2013:

The garlic festival sounds amazing! If I'm ever traveling to that area of the country, I'll have to keep it in mind. Thanks for the detailed information!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 13, 2013:

I guess that garlic deserves the festival honor, and the festival sounds great. Garlic has such great nutritional and medicinal value, but the thought of the ice-cream is difficult to swallow. Hope the real thing is not. Voted Up!

bohemiotx on July 13, 2013:

I really enjoyed this article because I'm a garlic fanatic. Looking forward to finding out more about this cool California city, starting with the Japanese exhibit.

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