Garlic, garlic, garlic and more garlic
So a couple of weeks ago we attended the Gilroy Garlic Festival. We didn’t know what to expect and we were a little bit anxious about the drive since our son hadn’t driven much longer than an hour without nature calling or a food mishap. We were also skeptical about the shuttle-bus-from-the-parking-lot situation, but, as part of our California experience and our general love of food, we sucked it up and hit the road.
First impressions: absolutely incredible organization! We drove up to a field where we looped around until we were greeted by 2 lines of people guiding the cars into “parking spots”. They worked like a well-oiled machine. From there we were herded into a line to board the bus. The stroller was loaded into one of the storage compartments underneath the bus. From there we were off. We watched a DVD (from WAY back when) talking about the festival and the different things to do. It was a nice touch to build anticipation. Driving from the fields just on the outskirts of Gilroy into town where the festival was being held, I truly appreciated what the shuttle service meant for residents. They could get on with their lives without have over 100,000 people disrupt their living over the three days.
Once we arrived, we walked through the gates (as we had pre-purchased tickets) and ready to eat. There were a number of booths to enjoy and A LOT of garlic and garlic paraphernalia to buy. Some stalls did take debit/credit but most were cash. There were ATMs on site but at $4.50 service fee, you’re better off stocking up on cash beforehand.
Our favourite part was the BBQ competition side of the festival. We have never been to anything like it and it was even a watered down version of the bigger competitions. The ribs were all incredible! Juicy, tender, flavourful! It was fantastic. Definitely check it out. The rest of the festival food was standard issue festival food. Still enjoyable and fun but nothing unique or special.
The nicest surprise were the store vendors. There were a lot of unique items that I would actually buy. Very few of your standard issue products.
Heading back to the car was equally as organized and impressive. When we initially boarded the shuttle, we were given a coloured card to indicate which lot we were parked in. When we were ready to leave, we walked to the corresponding coloured sign (which was well marked and indicated on the maps). Exiting the “parking lot” was equally easy as driving in.
Overall it was a fun day. Appreciated what the festival had to offer. Definitely buy tickets ahead of time (parking too) and make sure to get there early. Traffic does get backed up on the freeway. Definitely recommending to everyone out there!