Festival guide

The 2010 Gilroy Garlic Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, July 23 through Sunday, July 25, at Christmas Hill Park,
located in the center of town where Miller Avenue meets Uvas Creek.
Gates close at 6 p.m.
When and where: The 2010 Gilroy Garlic Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, July 23 through Sunday, July 25, at Christmas Hill Park, located in the center of town where Miller Avenue meets Uvas Creek. Gates close at 6 p.m.

Tickets: General admission is $17. Tickets for senior citizens 60 and older and children 6 to 12 are $8. Children younger than 6 get in free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.gilroygarlicfestival.com. Friday, July 23 is locals day. Gilroy residents can purchase tickets at the gate for $12 with a valid ID.

Cocktail conversation: This is the festival’s 32nd year. More than 4,000 volunteers power the inner workings – picking up trash, putting up shade tents and parking cars. All the volunteers are paid an “hourly wage” that goes to the charity they have agreed to work for.

Geography: There are two sides to Christmas Hill Park – the Ranch side north of Miller Avenue, which dissects the park, and the Park side. Miller Avenue is closed for the three-day festival. The park is all outdoors with mostly turf and some compact dirt and asphalt walkways. There are natural shade trees and many shade tents with tables and benches.

If you’re driving: Follow the large signs directing motorists to the free parking lots located near the park. Shuttle buses will transport guests to and from the festival. Handicapped parking and transportation is available. If you’re local enough to know better, drive city streets to Miller Avenue, park and walk half a mile.

If you’re biking: The beautiful Uvas Levee trail is a great way to come, though there are many other options you can choose. Once at the festival, you can park your bike at the secured bike lot, near the intersection of Miller Avenue and Yorktown Drive – about a one-minute walk from the festival entrance. There will be three people on duty watching the bikes and you will need a ticket or password (and think of something better than 1234, please) to retrieve your bike.

Refreshments: Free water is available, and three beer gardens and one wine tent are located throughout the grounds. Make sure to drink enough fluids throughout the day to remain hydrated and avoid getting heat stroke.

Restrooms: Unisex bathrooms (OK, they’re port-a-potties) are located around the perimeter of the park.

First aid: Volunteers from the American Red Cross will be on hand to deal with minor injuries. Emergency services are located on the park side between the children’s area and administration. In addition, paramedics on bikes will roam the festival grounds.

Pets: Don’t bring your pet. The festival at one time featured a kennel, but that’s been discontinued, so there’s nowhere to stash Fido.

For the kids: The Children’s Area under the tree-shaded Mulberry West section of the park provides a fun place for kids and their chaperones. There are games, crafts, stories and rides. Don’t forget to grab your treasure hunt map and solve clues around the park to find treasures.

Short on cash: ATMs will be set up near the Amphitheater, in the middle of the park near Gourmet Alley and on the Ranch side near Garlic Avenue.

What to bring: Your driver’s license for the beer gardens or wine tents, a hat or visor, sunscreen, money (remember, this is for charity) and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes. A camera might be a good idea to capture images of your day. Dress in layers. Mornings can be cool, and afternoons are usually sunny. Shirt and shoes are required.

What not to bring: Alcohol of any kind is prohibited. You should not bring any bottles, glass or cans, coolers – large or small, frisbees and water projecting devices, pocket knives and weapons of any kind.

Security: Plenty of Gilroy police officers will roam the grounds, particularly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons near the amphitheater. Some officers will be on horseback at peak times. Security personnel will man the gates with electronic wands and parole officers will be on hand.

Arts and crafts: One hundred artisans selling everything from pottery to garlic to art, will offer their wares. Booths will be split between the Ranch and Park sides.

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