Gilroyans snag top two spots in Garlic Fest poster contest

The third place poster by Marcus Pollitz of Pomona.

This year’s winner of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Art Poster
Contest searched high and low for the perfect specimen.
This year’s winner of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Art Poster Contest searched high and low for the perfect specimen.

“The most important thing, as a photographer, is to start with a great subject,” said Peggy Dean, whose image of a dried garlic bulb perched in a gold frame won first place out of 18 entries.

Thanks to the generosity of LJB Farms, Dean had free range to an entire field of garlic. Picking the bulb that would take first prize was no easy task, she said.

“I went through tons of garlic. I wanted one with character,” she said.

After tossing thousands of bulbs aside, she still couldn’t decide and took home four grocery bags full of the aromatic herb. Finally, she found her winner. Spotlessly clean, the robust bulb’s gracefully curving stalk and tangle of roots stood out against its peers.

“I saw this one and it was just a little more special than the others,” Dean said. “I thought ‘Boy, you should be in a frame.’ I couldn’t have found a better garlic.”

Dean, who took third place in last year’s contest, originally envisioned another look for her submission – a country basket filled with garlic. But the bulb she settled on “looked so elegant, I wanted to give it a black tie look,” she said.

A San Jose transplant, Dean has lived in Gilroy for 31 years and raised her two sons in the town she now calls home.

“I would never move out of this area,” she said. “I love it here.”

Dean owns her own photography business and often can’t make it to the Garlic Festival because it competes with wedding season. This year, she’ll be at the Festival all three days to sign copies of her submission, which will be available at the Festival’s Mercantile stores for $10.

“It’s nice to work with a subject you love,” Dean said.

Second place was awarded to local artist JoAnne Perez Robinson and third place went to Marcus Pollitz of Pomona.

Dean received a $750 cash prize.

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